An educated decision

10 Dec 2012

A bold new setting for interdisciplinary research, teaching and global outreach

Ann Beha Architects' adaptive reuse of the former Chicago Theological Seminary and two historic row houses, and the integration of a 38,000 sq ft new Research Pavilion will create a centralised setting for the University of Chicago's Department of Economics and Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics.

The design engages historic preservation with contemporary design, establishing a dialogue between new and old, and extending the lives of heritage buildings, but setting them, and their modern companions, in a new enclave that is welcoming and unified. The site approach opens the former Seminary to the street, unifying its two wings and repurposing its interior spaces into collaborative settings.

The relocation of a city service alley creates a substantial site for a new Research Pavilion. The site will connect to the former Seminary and two historic row houses. The massing, articulation and materials of the Research Pavilion respond to the organisation of the row houses. The new building is clearly contemporary, but establishes a dialogue with its historic neighbours.

The Research Pavilion ties to the vocabulary of design established for the interventions on the former Seminary as well. The first initiative of this type at the University, this inclusive approach will set the precedent for future campus development, optimising existing buildings, creating green space, and carefully integrating contemporary design.

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