University of Illinois at Chicago cuts ribbon on new building

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Academic and Residential Complex at University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has officially opened its Academic and Residential Complex.

The building was designed by architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Thornton Tomasetti was the engineering firm for the project. It is the result of a a public private partnership between UIC and American Campus Communities (ACC), a company that manages and developes student housing communities.

The project took just over a year-and-a-half to complete, with the initial ground breaking happening in January 2018.

The facility has a 10-story, 146,000-square-foot residence hall with 548 beds in traditional dorm rooms and semi-suite-style units.

It also houses as two-story, 54,000-square-foot academic center with three large tiered lecture halls, active learning classrooms, several small group study rooms, a tutoring center and collaboration space.

Additionally, it includes shared spaces such as lounges, offices, laundry rooms, a fitness center and a 10th floor sky lounge, along with 1,600 square feet of retail space that will house a Starbucks to be operated by students.

The building is said to be in the style of Netsch, a reference to Walter Netsch, the original designer of the campus. His influence can especially be seen in the use of concrete panels and geometric shapes in the building’s façade.

The residential tower’s structural system consists of concrete, two-way, post-tensioned flat slabs and reinforced concrete columns and shear walls, with staged stressed PT transfer beams. The classroom building features an oval floor plan with a steel braced-frame lateral system, long-span continuous plate girders with an 80-foot maximum span and a curved-steel feature stair spanning 45 feet. The structural systems of the two buildings are separated by an expansion joint. The complex is targeting LEED Gold certification.

“The project team spent a lot of time considering the needs of the university both from an academic and residential perspective,” said Joe Prochot, director of development management at ACC.

“Though the overall design duration was compressed, this group of design professionals met the demanding expectations of the UIC/ACC partnership, contributing to successful construction efforts and project delivery.”

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