Education in the sky

Monday 16 Aug 2010

VOA Associates Incorporated reveal Roosevelt University’s new vertical campus

In this ever-competitive academic market, colleges and universities are seeking bold new strategies to increase enrollment. Roosevelt University in Chicago is one school that is banking on signature architecture to reposition itself amidst a growing landscape of academic institutions and bring more students to its ranks. At a time when construction cranes have all but disappeared from the Chicago skyline, Roosevelt University is building and doing it big with a new 32-storey glass tower that it says will be the second tallest campus building in the United States. Designed by VOA Associates Incorporated, Roosevelt’s new vertical campus will transform the way the university operates while bringing a significant change to Chicago’s skyline.

Thin and tall and with an undulating glass façade in various shades of blue, Roosevelt’s new campus centre presents a dynamic image for Chicago’s South Loop area for the University which makes its home in the adjacent Auditorium building, a storied building designed by architect Louis Sullivan which when built was the tallest building in Chicago and the largest building in the United States. In fact, Roosevelt University has made a tradition of repurposing famous Chicago buildings and hopes its new vertical campus will eventually make its way into Chicago’s architectural annals. While it is too early in the game to size the building up, the reviews of the building’s design thus far have been good, having garnered high marks from Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, Blair Kamin.

The mixed use structure will house administrative offices and classrooms, a dining hall and fitness center, a conference centre and science labs and residence suites for more then 600 students. The building will also house the university’s business school. With residences located on the top 17 floors, students will study among the stars while enjoy stunning views of the city’s skyline, Grant Park and Chicago’s waterfront.

Designed to obtain LEED Silver certification, the building is slated to open in 2012.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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