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The Illinois Institute of Technology restores three Mies van der Rohe buildings

The Illinois Institute of Technology restores three Mies van der Rohe buildings

With historic preservation a top concern, the $70 million housing project has renewed Illinois Tech’s front door as it welcomes more students than ever.

By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | August 18, 2022
Carman Exterior
Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology.

With Dirk Denison Architects and Gilbane Building Company, the Illinois Institute of Technology has recently completed a $70 million housing project that has restored three Ludwig Mies van der Rohe buildings. With the completion of the Carman Hall residential facility, the three-building project has renewed Illinois Tech’s front door as it prepares for its highest recorded enrollment numbers—more than 25% higher than last year.

Located at the campus entryway and offering views of the Chicago skyline, all three buildings were designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a pioneer of modernist architecture. Historic preservation was a top priority for the project, along with ensuring energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

Dirk Denison, the project’s lead architect, is also an architecture professor at Illinois Tech. His students regularly visited the job sites for a hands-on, up-close learning experience—aligning with the school’s philosophy around learning by creating. Denison’s firm includes five Illinois Tech alumni, and two recent graduates who studied under Denison now work full-time at Gilbane. Founded in 1870, Gilbane provides comprehensive construction and facilities-related services and has more than 45 office locations worldwide.

“It was rewarding for students to have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills as part of this iconic project located on their campus,” Denison, founding principal of Dirk Denison Architects and professor and MCHAP Director at Illinois Tech, said in a statement. “It’s particularly gratifying to help deliver projects that acknowledge the timeless quality of modernist architecture and the value of preserving them. IIT has a respectful commitment to its Mies legacy and has led the way to recognize the original intent of the buildings by bringing them back to life through thoughtful reuse and sustainable strategies.”

On the Building Team:
Owner and developer: Illinois Institute of Technology
Architect: Dirk Denison Architects
Mechanical: State Mechanical Services, LLC
Electrical: Gurtz 
Plumbing: The Hill Group
Structural engineer: Matrix Engineering Corp.
General contractor/construction manager: Gilbane Building Company

Carman Grounds
Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology.
Kacek Lobby
Courtesy Institute Institute of Technology.


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