Architecture | Educational and Cultural Institutions | University Of Chicago |

Campus North Residential Commons

University of Chicago | Chicago, IL | 2016

The University of Chicago’s new residence hall gives new meaning to the old phrase “Welcome, freshman.” Designed by acclaimed architecture firm Studio Gang, it serves as a new front door to the campus, greeting students with open and inviting architecture.

What It Was

The University of Chicago’s new residence hall gives new meaning to the old phrase “Welcome, freshman.” Designed by acclaimed architecture firm Studio Gang, it serves as a new front door to the campus, greeting students with open and inviting architecture. The 400,000-sf complex features dining, amenities, retail, green spaces and student residences designed around three-story “house hubs” that encourage community interaction. The sustainably designed complex is targeting LEED Gold certification.

What e Did

As part of a design-build team led by Mortensen Construction, Lightswitch Architectural created innovative, cost-effective, green lighting and control solutions for all interior and exterior spaces, including the residences, common areas, circulation spaces, and shared courtyards, gardens, and walkways. We collaborated with Studio Gang to integrate lighting into key architectural elements, like the sawtooth ceilings in the dining hall and wooden tray ceilings in the study room. A major challenge was integrating lighting into the dorm rooms, which have exposed concrete ceilings. Our economical solution was to mount lights to the walls to illuminate the vertical volume of the space, while still providing sufficient light for safety. Security was also a concern for site lighting. We worked with the school to set and meet target exterior illuminance levels.

Why It Worked

Our budget-friendly design supported the project’s LEED goal, as well as the university’s efforts to reduce energy use campus-wide, while creating a warm, inviting environment for students to call home. Photos © Tom Harris Photography