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Wabash Building for Roosevelt University

Wabash Building for Roosevelt University, completed in 2012 is adjacent and interconnected to the iconic  Landmark Auditorium Building, designed by Adler and Sullivan. It is  an  expansion of  Roosevelt University, with its long history in the city of Chicago, The 32 story tower is the tallest educational building in Chicago and second tallest vertical university in US. While its function is utilitarian, its form certainly becomes a statement of the Roosevelt University that it is a major player in midwestern education. The building includes 420,000 square feet of additional spaces, including student residences at the top floors , academic classrooms, offices, a student union, and fitness/recreation space. A site adjacent to the Auditorium Building was chosen to take advantage of shared resources  of urban environment and access to public transportation, but at only 17,500 square feet constrain site, it required a high-rise solution. The layout of the building with a complex program in a very limited urban  footprint was designed to create “neighborhoods” to foster the university community and provide opportunities for interaction. This was, in part, accomplished by offsetting the core to the north side of the building, which also allowed the structure to be cantilevered over the existing Auditorium Building foundations to reduce any impact on the existing historical structure.

This “Vertical University,” with a hybrid model  mixed use program  complements and enhances existing facility and  corresponds with historical fabric of the Auditorium Building. The goal was to create “campus” with flexible and adaptable planning to enhance evolving pedagogies and interdisciplinary engagement. It provides critical infrastructure serving both the University, the Auditorium Theater, preserving the façade of the historic Fine Arts Annex existing on this site. It expands the Universities commitment to Social Justice and Civic engagement continuing their support of the community and stewardship of this cultural landmark. The form of the building reflects the different neighborhoods of Student Union and Services, Academic and Residential. The modern language of exterior  doesn't  compete with existing historical structure , rather reasserts the importance of the expression of the institution in the epicenter of the Burnham plan.

*work prior with VOA Associates Inc.

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