University of Chicago Campus North Residential Commons


Built 2016

University of Chicago

Educational, Residential, Office

400,000 sf

Targeting LEED Gold


Download PDF

The Campus North Residential Commons offers the kinds of social spaces and experiences that enhance campus and academic life for today’s undergraduates.

The full-block site is designed as a new portal to campus, opening up the University to the greater Hyde Park community, while also encouraging interactions and exchange among students of different ages and backgrounds.

Campus North offers a mix of student residences, dining options, amenities, retail, and outdoor green spaces. The location and placement of the structures create a new “front door” for the University, strengthening connections between the campus and nearby communities.

The design situates four slender bar buildings in an urban fabric of plazas, gardens, walkways, and courtyards that together form inviting, public and semi-private outdoor spaces for students and neighbors.

The building is scaled to its context, with the highest structure completing the urban edge of busy 55th Street, while nearby structures are more attuned to the residential neighborhood along University Avenue. Pre-cast concrete panels are used to clad the building, a contemporary facade informed by the University’s neo-Gothic tradition.

Enhancing the University’s House system, which encourages interaction and collaboration between students of different years to support social and academic success, the buildings are organized around House hubs, three-story communal spaces that are designed to feel comfortable and homey.

Each hub offers distinct spaces for studying, cooking, and relaxing in small groups or individually, while also enabling all House members to assemble together to discuss household chores and energy use and to plan group activities or study sessions.

The Houses share communal spaces such as the top-floor Reading Room, which offers panoramic views of the city, campus, and Lake Michigan.

Film by UChicago Creative © The University of Chicago

Consultant Team

Mortenson Construction, design builder

Hanbury, associate architect


Magnusson Klemencic Associates, structural engineering

David Mason & Associates, civil engineering

Hood Design Studio, landscape concept designer

Terry Guen Design Associates, landscape architect

Threshold Acoustics, acoustics

Lightswitch Architectural, lighting

Jensen Hughes, code consultant

Ricca Design Studios, food service consultant

Jenkins & Huntington, elevator consultant

Transsolar, sustainability consultant