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  • Writer's pictureEric Eichler

Campus North Residential Commons

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

400,000 GSF, 15 Stories

Construction Cost: $150,000,000

Architect: Studio Gang Architects

Design Builder: Mortenson Construction

Completion: Fall 2016

The Campus North Residential Commons is an 800-bed, 400,000 square foot residence hall and dining facility designed by Studio Gang Architects. Eric Eichler served as Senior Project Manager, guiding the project from planning through completion. The project was the University of Chicago's first large scale Design Build project. Eric led all aspects of the project from start to finish, which began with a Programming study and budget development covering a wide range of project scenarios.

During the Programming phase, Eric performed extensive benchmarking studies to establish the project budget and evaluated various project delivery methods, which included assessing that the facility could open a year earlier than expected if the University agreed to proceed with the Design Build approach. A departure from the University's traditional delivery method for large capital projects, the Design Build approach was ultimately selected. The design process then began with an international design build competition.

The Campus North design competition spanned nearly six months and included significant coordination with high-level University stakeholders on the Design Build selection committee. Eric drafted the Design Build services RFP and competition brief, managed the selection process, and negotiated the Design Build services agreement. After the selection of the successful building design and team, the project was completed in three years, allowing the building to open in time for September 2016 student move-in. The project was completed within the specified $180 Million total project budget and the timeline was accelerated by a year from the originally forecast 2017 opening.

Project highlights include:

  • 30,000 GSF, full service Dining Commons with 500 seats

  • 10,000 GSF of external tenant retail space

  • 15th floor Reading Room with lake and skyline views

  • Signature architectural precast concrete facade panels

  • Radiant Heating and Cooling - Residential floors of the building are heated and cooled completely via radiant slab technology. Forced air is delivered only to provide fresh air for occupant comfort.

  • Natural Ventilation - During certain outside air temperature ranges, the radiant slabs can be deactivated to allow for the exclusive use of natural ventilation to temper the space.

  • Designed and built under City of Chicago high rise code

  • The development footprint totaled nearly five acres, creating a new campus quadrangle

  • The project included the vacation of one block of S. Greenwood Avenue, which was transformed into a pedestrian friendly area and integrated into the new landscape.

Project Links

University of Chicago

Studio Gang Architects

Mortenson Construction


Project Gallery

Photos by Tom Harris and Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing

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