Chicago's Most Architecturally-Innovative University Structures


Architecture and design is alive and well in Chicago, especially in the education sector as some of the most innovative designs can be found in the universities around the city.

In 2013, De Paul University made waves in the city's architectural scene when it introduced is Pelli Clark Pelli-designed theater school with its full-height glass panels that allows curious passers-by a peek of what's happening inside the theater. In the morning, the theater looks like a giant white cube bathed with translucent glass but in the evening, it casts a soft glow adding beauty to the streetscape.

Not wanting to be behind the competition, the Northeastern Illinois University also made its architectural statement when it opened its El Centro campus a couple of years ago. Designed by JGMA, this three-story sci-fi-themed building is very striking because it looks different from every angle.

Recently, the University of Chicago and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management opened their newly-built centers which are no less than striking than the others. The University of Chicago's Studio Gang-designed dormitory complex is considered the most expensive university building project to date. The 400,000-square foot dorm complex has a total cost of $148 million and can accommodate 800 students. The dorm complex includes two elevated landscape terraces, a new public outdoor plaza, retail outlets, a dining hall, and a communal space for studying.

Meanwhile, the Kellog School of Management in Evanston is also celebrating its new KPMB-designed business facility. Its two-story campus conservatory faces overlooking the pristine lake near the campus has a total of 410,000 square feet of classrooms and administrative space. It also has an atrium defined with zigzagging walkways and a central courtyard.

With these innovatively designed buildings, universities are helping the Chicago scene become more dynamic and cement the city's reputations as one of the most important capitals in the United States.

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