The University of Chicago approved Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s preliminary architectural design for a 90,000-sf building that will facilitate student and faculty collaboration.
The David M. Rubenstein Forum will have a 165-foot tower, containing large and small meeting rooms, and a two-story base with a main lobby, restaurant, and several larger rooms. The University Room will hold 600 people for panels, lectures, and dinners, and the 285-seat Presentation Hall will have tiered seating for presentations, performances, and film screenings. The Lake View Room at the top of the building can hold receptions.
“We composed the tower as a stack of ‘neighborhoods’ with meeting and communal spaces of all sizes—both formal and informal, calm and animated, focused and diffuse,” DS+R Founding Partner Elizabeth Diller said in a statement. “The building prompts its varied populations to cross paths with one another where possible to enhance intellectual exchange. The lower floors of the Rubenstein Forum are porous and dynamic with connections to the campus and the community in all directions. As one climbs the building, there is a progressive retreat from the everyday to more contemplative spaces with dramatic views of Chicago and Lake Michigan.”
DS+R designed floor-to-ceiling windows to draw in as much natural light as possible, and to provide views of the main campus, surrounding neighborhoods, the city skyline, and the lakeshore.
The school and the architect held focus groups and consulted with more than 100 faculty and staff to determine the program for the building, which includes the number, size, and type of rooms. The school needs a place on campus to host university functions.
“Too often events hosted by the university are held in other parts of Chicago, and our guests are denied the opportunity to experience the intellectually dynamic and beautiful campus that we have in Hyde Park,” University of Chicago Executive Vice President David Fithian said in a statement.
DS+R was selected to design the Rubenstein Forum in October 2015. The school’s newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, reported that construction will begin this year, and the building is expected to be completed by 2018.