September 23, 2016
“Students at the University of Chicago returned this fall to find a brand-new architectural treat: Studio Gang’s Campus North Residential Commons. Commissioned in 2013, the 400,000-square-foot complex recently opened, offering housing for students and a variety of public spaces, shops, and restaurants for the broader Hyde Park community. Chicago-based Studio Gang, helmed by MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Jeanne Gang, is nothing short of a hometown hero in the Windy City, and its work on the Commons follows suit. Similar in spirit to the firm’s most famous project, Chicago’s Aqua Tower, the Commons features an undulating white concrete façade and a multilevel green space, meant to foster collaboration between students inside and out. The building also serves as something of a front door to the university, with a focus on facilitating broader community involvement otherwise inhibited by the Gothic enclosures that surround the main campus.
In keeping with its usual MO, Studio Gang emphasized sustainability in its design, which boasts an energy-saving radiant slab mechanical system that makes maximal use of natural cooling and heating forces. This, coupled with 100 percent rainwater retention and a south-north site positioning to take advantage of natural light, puts the Commons at the forefront of environmental innovation on campuses and beyond.”
Architectural Record reviews the Campus North Residential Commons at the University of Chicago.