Cannon Design (Chicago)
Project of Distinction Winner 2012 Education Design Showcase
||Facility Use: College/University 4-Year Institution
Project Type: Adaptive Reuse
Category: Whole Building/Campus Design
Location: Chicago, IL
District/Inst.: Alder School of Professional Psychology
Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D.
Completion Date: September 2010
Design Capacity: 1,360 students
Enrollment: 1,000 students
Gross Area: 101,600 sq.ft.
Space per pupil: 75 sq.ft.
Cost per student: $7,353
Cost per sq.ft.: $98.00
Total project cost: $10,000,000
Founded in 1952, Adler School of Professional Psychology had formerly been housed on several unconnected floors of a downtown building. To accommodate a deliberate growth pathway from 165 students to 1,360, and 210 staff, the school commissioned Cannon Design to design a new facility that would promote community and belonging – concepts central to Adlerian psychology – and support the school’s culture of interaction and community service. The school envisioned a new space in an old building that would foster collaborative work and encourage faculty, students and others to mingle freely.
The Adler School’s new home - two upper floors at 17 North Dearborn, built in 1905 - achieves these goals and more. The $10 million project knits together the two floors and their diversity of spaces into a unified campus. At the campus’s east and west ends are two-story atriums with grand staircases that promote visual connectivity and free flow between the two floors. Rooms for student use, such as classrooms and resource centers, line the windowed perimeter, while offices are zoned to the interior. Daylight flows from periphery rooms through glass walls into corridors and glass-paneled interior offices. Glass staircase railings enhance the transparent feel. Heavy acoustical glass prevents transmission of sound.
After sign-in at a new street-level lobby, visitors ascend to the 15th floor, where they are met by a line of low couches and a large, open lobby. A lime-green “ribbon,” suspended in the lobby and dotted with light fixtures, meanders throughout the public spaces of the two-story campus, following a major east-west corridor and several smaller north-south corridors, graphically unifying the facility and easing wayfinding. Contemporary lines and colors complement the older building shell. In the library, lights of mixed shapes and sizes hang from an unimproved ceiling. To invite all types of interaction among students and faculty, every open space is furnished with an assortment of formal and casual furniture, and faculty offices are dispersed throughout rather than clustered. Indicators of the project's success include students’ increased attendance, early arrivals and late departures to linger, chat or work on projects together. The retrofit project achieved LEED Gold certification in 2011, and Cannon Design is conducting a multi-phased, post-occupancy-evaluation to ascertain impacts of various design features and inform future expansions.
Problem and scope
With a vision to be the leading academic institution advancing socially responsible practice, healthy communities and a more just society, the Adler School of Professional Psychology required a new environment. Adler had been in their current premises for 16 years and had a looming lease expiration date. Influencing the strategic decision-making was a focus on the evolving communities served by Adler, refinement of the school’s curriculum, a desire to update Adler’s external image and the ability to address future student and faculty needs. Most importantly, Adler’s culture—one focusing on collaboration, interactive learning opportunities, technology-based teaching and a strong sense of school community– was a driving force behind its facility design.
After investigating several buildings in downtown Chicago, Adler and the design team selected two floors of an early 20th century office building to transform into a 100,000 sf modern urban campus. The design successfully balances academic and community spaces, creates student and faculty collaboration areas and enhances a technology-based curriculum.The space provides room for a current student body of 800, with expansion plans up to 1,360 students, and forms an interactive learning environment through:
• transparency between classrooms and offices
• open, flexible spaces and furniture
• color and environmental graphics
The design team embarked upon a collaborative planning process with the Adler School to develop the project vision and determine the campus’ occupancy program requirements. Adler desired a facility that would foster a culture of interaction while offering quiet and personal spaces. They desired a warm, thought-provoking atmosphere that would be environmentally conscious. The desired qualities and quantitative space measurements led Adler to informed decisions in planning, design and implementation of its future learning facility.
During these programming sessions, the design team worked with Adler to determine the balance between community and personal spaces. To thoroughly gather necessary information from all eight departments and constituency groups, the designers conducted more than 15 interviews, led a 75-person visioning session and conducted dozens of meetings with the Adler executive team to develop the quantitative and qualitative program. The interactive visioning process ensured the facility reflects Adler's culture of interaction and community service while offering its students quiet study and reflection spaces. Subsequently, the design firm created an “idealized” planning diagram that incorporated the program and spirit of the future facility.
The success of this comprehensive planning and programming effort was borne out in behavioral and cultural changes on campus. Faculty and staff have noticed that students arrive earlier for classes and remain on campus after class lets out. Students and community organizations have used the campus to host a range of events – a rare occurrence at the former campus facility. Students have commented on the variety of places available to study and interact. Creating a sense of choice has been critical to building connection and pride within the campus community. A careful evaluation of these behavior changes is included in the post-occupancy study currently underway by the design team.
An inclusive dialogue and the resultant space program drove the planning toward an 'urban campus' in which rooms, niches, corridors, volumes, technology, furniture and materials are woven together forming a unique facility. The design leverages the value of very large exterior windows, the ability to create two-story atriums and an offset core. The gently curving main corridor wraps around the core to connect east and west atriums. Each atrium is anchored by a grand staircase, promoting dynamic movement within the special volumes allowing for visual connectivity between floors.
The architectural strategy of a two-story atrium, with a connecting sculptural stair, provides the visual and physical connection between academic spaces creating a town square serving the Adler School community. The design decentralizes and distributes learning spaces and faculty offices among the two floors. More intimate meeting and study areas are sprinkled throughout promoting both casual interactions among students and staff as well as moments for reflection, critical to this learning community. An environment supporting an interconnected community of teachers and learners emerges to reflect Adler’s fundamental belief that “psychology’s greatest benefits occur when the profession is practiced in collaboration with others in the community.”
During construction, one of the largest challenges encountered by the design team was when demolition uncovered unforeseen conditions that were problematic to integrating systems within existing structure. As two floors of a high-rise building, the new space to be occupied by Adler School of Professional Psychology did not allow access to all spaces to survey the existing conditions before construction. Demolition concealed exposed issues but the team was able to quickly rework design solutions and create spaces the further amplified the learning environment by creating additional break-out and collaboration space. Furthermore, the team worked with the existing subsytems to meter for energy efficiency and gave Adler an understanding of the realistic usage.
Amenity and Interactive Media Resource Spaces
• Learning resource center/library
• Wellness studio
• Indoor lockable bike storage
• Showers and lockers
• Art therapy rooms
• Steelcase Mediascape collaboration stations
• Multiple breakout areas and study nooks
• Alfred's Café (dining space for students)
• Center for Learning and Teaching (mentoring and tutoring center for students)
• Street presence and identity via ground floor lobby and storefront window display
• Collaboration zones for Adler's Institutes for Social Change (academic think tanks who prepare specific didactic and experiential activities for students and faculty)
• Large presentation room
• Increased conference room quantities/types, including a board room
• Built-in credenzas with computing and wireless access to display screens, integrated electronic schedulers at all seminar rooms, LCD panel displays, SMART board interactive whiteboards and in-ceiling integrated projection units.
|1) Control of Institution: Public|
2) Type of Institution: Alternative Ed
Methodology & Standards:
|Primary Source: Primary Source: Private Funding|
Project Delivery Method(s):
|Principles Followed: LEED|
Certifications Obtained: LEED Gold
Site Selection and Development: Site Selection
Indoor Environmental Quality: Use of Daylighting
Associated Firms and Consultants:
|Educational Planning: Cannon Design|
Interior Design: Cannon Design
Structural Engineer: Cannon Design
Electrical Engineer: Cannon Design
Mechanical Engineer: Cannon Design
Technology Consultant: Environmental Systems Design, Inc. (AV and Security Engineering)
Environmental Consultant: Kym Abrams Design (Environmental Graphics); Chicago Scenic Studios
Other: Studio A (Wayfinding/Signage Consultant); Anne Kustner Lighting Design (Lighting Design); Lutron Electronics (Lighting Control); Kayhan International (Furniture Dealer); ConopCo Realty & Development (Owner's Representative); Transwestern Commercial Services (Real Estate Broker); Steinkamp Photography (Photographer); Leopardo Companies Inc.
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