After five years of planning and construction, Chicago-based architecture and planning firm Farr Associates and artist Theaster Gates have dramatically transformed a 60-year-old dormitory at the University of Chicago into a state-of-the-art research center and student hub, known as the Keller Center. Originally designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1962, the once dark and closed-off concrete structure served as the University of Chicago’s New Graduate Residence Hall. While some of Stone’s initial design was preserved—including the building’s slender columns, projecting canopy, and mid-century modern aesthetic—the addition of a glass roof and brilliant limestone facade illuminates the fully renovated interior, which is now home to the university’s Harris School of Public Policy. The design team foregrounded sustainability—the Keller Center will be the first LEED Platinum building on the University of Chicago campus and one of the first university buildings to pursue the strict Petal Certification of the Living Building Challenge—but also thought about ways to tie the new design to the building’s past, context, and community. Farr Associates salvaged as much as possible for the renovation, preserving old doors, hooks, mailboxes, mirrors, light fixtures, and shelves for the new design. Theaster Gates came up with the idea to use lumber from damaged ash wood trees that were removed from Chicago’s city parks for a main building material for the interior of the center. Gates then hired local workers to process the trees at a mill just south of the project site, where he was able to provide job training to people on Chicago’s South Side. The center also features a rainwater harvesting system, which captures water from the roof and transports it to the building’s toilets, along with rain gardens that accommodate the region’s native species. There were many design challenges associated with carving a new interior from the existing concrete skeleton of the building. For example, the structure lacked insulation, and it was riddled with columns and steel supports that could not be removed. The architects were forced to work around those structural hindrances, while trying to keep the space open and inviting. The result was a visually inspiring interior complete with shimmering, glass-walled classrooms, lounges, offices, meeting rooms, and a four-story atrium called the Harris Forum, which serves as a central collaboration space. The sun-streaked atrium, which was carefully shaped out of the existing structure, represents the heart of the Harris School, and it is home to a variety of discussions, world-class speakers, and events.
Posts tagged with "Farr Associates":
AIA Chicago announced their 2012 awards, to be officially presented tomorrow at the chapter’s annual meeting. Firm of the year goes to Farr Associates, whose sustainable design credentials include seven LEED Platinum projects, two net-zero-energy buildings and three LEED-Neighborhood Developments. Farr was the first firm in the world to rack up three LEED Platinum projects. The New York Times’ Keith Schneider once called them “The most prominent of the city’s growing cadre of ecologically sensitive architects.” Eco-urbanists are in good company these days, and it seems a timely choice by AIA to highlight a firm so actively involved in the hard work of implementing smart growth and sustainable design. Valerio Dewalt Train’s Matt Dumich took the Dubin Family Young Architect Award. Dumich was project architect on VDTA’s upgrade of Bruce Graham's First Wisconsin Plaza and was previously honored with the 2011 Building Design + Construction 40 Under 40 award. His firm’s work includes a revival of the Staybridge Suites project at 127 W. Huron, and the University of Chicago’s Early Childhood Center. AIA is also awarding three Distinguished Service Awards, recognizing "outstanding service to the Chicago architectural community." Lynn Becker, mastermind of the essential ArchitectureChicago PLUS blog, Paul Knight of the residential energy-efficiency consulting firm Domus PLUS and the University of Illinois Chicago’s Vincent Paglione will be recognized by AIA’s board at 3340 N. Kedzie Ave., December 7.
Members of Chicago’s community development world gathered Tuesday evening for the 16th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA). Established by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago, the CNDA recognizes outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development and community building. This year, ten honorees were celebrated in a ceremony attended by Mayor Richard M. Daley. The CNDA is the largest awards program of its kind in the country. In addition to the prestige of winning, many of the awards are complemented by a monetary gift. Read the full list and see images of some of the winning projects after the jump. CNDA Winners: The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year: The Pilsen Quality-of-Life planning process Implementing a plan created by the Pilsen Planning Committee, community members have come together to implement strategic improvements in five areas including education, housing, family, economy, and image. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project: Homan Arthington Foundation for the Charles H. Shaw Technology Learning Center A public charter school has moved into the Power House facility of the original Sears Roebuck and Co. world headquarters in North Lawndale after an adaptive reuse project using a combination of historic preservation and green elements. The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award: Mercy Housing Lakefront for Malden Arms Apartments Mercy Housing Lakefront brought together residents, community members, and layers of private and public financing to both preserve and improve existing affordable rental housing at the Malden Arms Apartments in Uptown. The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award: Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation and Turnstone Development for Whistler Crossing Utilizing 17 layers of funding, Holsten Real Estate and Turnstone were able to complete a development of sustainably designed modern and historic buildings as well as local infrastructure improvements. Special Recognition Award: Community Economic Development Law Project (CEDLP) Founded in 1985, the CEDLP links individuals and organizations in neighborhoods all over Chicago with needed legal assistance. Norman Bobbins Leadership Award: Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Director of the Quad Communities Development Corporation Friend of the Neighborhood Award: Michael W. Scott, former President of the Chicago Board of Education Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design: UrbanWorks for the UNO Veterans Memorial School Campus Farr Associates for Whistler Crossing SMNG-A Architects for Langston Hughes Elementary School