Learning By Design — Fall 2015
East-West University Student Life Center

The East-West University Student Life Center is a 165,000-sq.-ft., mixed-use, urban campus in Chicago’s South Loop. Standing at 17 stories, the campus building is composed of two main programmatic blocks: seven stories of academic and administrative program and 10 stories of student housing. The new construction project was undertaken to support the university’s growing student population and expanding academic programs, while addressing the pressures of providing new amenities to stay competitive with their peer institutions.

The end-user demographics of this project are specifically interesting in that the majority population of this school is comprised of minority students. The academic block contains a gymnasium, a 5,000-sq.-ft. library, auditorium, classrooms, faculty offices, exercise rooms and public food court arranged around a very unique Vertical Quadrangle. Situated on an urban infill lot, there was insufficient opportunity to provide outdoor space, so the Vertical Quad acts as the organizing mechanism for adapting the traditional campus quadrangle concept to a high-rise community setting. While fiscal conservation was of utmost importance, the creativity of the building’s graded design resulted in unobstructed lake views for every dorm room.