IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

Architect
OMA

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Holabird & Root

Studio Gang
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA | View Map
Project Year
2003
Category
Universities
© OMA

IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

OMA as Architects

The McCormick Tribune Campus Center seeks to reinvigorate the urbanism inherent – but long since neglected – in Mies van der Rohe's 1940 masterplan for the Illinois Institute of Technology. The large single-storey Campus Center provides a focal point for the previously sundered halves of the campus, and features a noise-absorbing steel tube wrapping the Elevated metro that runs directly over the building and, inside, a dense mosaic of programs including a bookstore, food court, café, auditorium, computer centre, and meeting spaces.


How to energize a campus that has half the population that animated it in the 1940s but now double its original footprint? To us, the conundrum implied a building that is able to re-urbanize the largest possible area using the least amount of built substance.


To create a new point of density for the campus, we located the building at the heart of IIT – a large rectangle between State and Wabash, 32nd and 33rd streets – and directly underneath the "L", the artery that connects the campus to the rest of Chicago. By enclosing the tracks above the Campus Center in a muffling stainless steel cylinder, a formerly deafening no man's land becomes a not only tolerable but a magnetic environment. The encircled track – known among students spontaneously as the Tube – becomes a crucial part of the Campus Center's, and IIT's, image.


Rather than stacking activities in a multi-storey building, we opted to arrange each programmatic element of the Campus Center in a dense single plane that would foster an urban condition. To achieve this, in 1997 OMA carried out a study to map the “desire lines” of student foot traffic across the campus. These intersecting diagonal paths are maintained inside the Campus Center itself, linking the multiplicity of activities via a network of interior streets, plazas, and urban islands that form neighborhoods: 24-hour, commercial, entertainment, academic, recreation, and other urban elements in microcosm.


The unifying element of the Campus Center is the roof: a sloping concrete slab that protects against the noise of the L while encompassing the heterogenous programs below. Where the roof ducks beneath the "L", the underside of the the Tube juts through the concrete as a reminder of what's above. The roof has a long overhang that embraces the adjacent Commons Hall, Mies's original student centre, designed in 1953. The Commons has its original perimeter and interior wooden partitions preserved, and now functions as a food court.

Project Credits
Mechanical, Plumbing & Electrical Engineer
OMA
Architects
Structural Engineer
Site CA Consultant
Landscape Design
2x4
Graphic consultant
Product Spec Sheet

Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
25 best architecture firms in Madrid
27 Jun 2022 News
25 best architecture firms in Madrid

Madrid is a center of gravity for European architecture. Spain’s capital city is host to an am... More

Lviv’s Radio Garage offers an experimental space for temporary exhibitions with a focus on radio, sound art, VR-art, and interactive media
25 Jun 2022 News
Lviv’s Radio Garage offers an experimental space for temporary exhibitions with a focus on radio, sound art, VR-art, and interactive media

In Lviv, Radio Garage is a media art centre and an experimental gallery for temporary exhibitions wi... More

Urban infill project Manifesto Market Andel activates an underutilized gap in Prague’s urban fabric
25 Jun 2022 News
Urban infill project Manifesto Market Andel activates an underutilized gap in Prague’s urban fabric

Located in Prague’s Andel District, Manifesto Market Andel is an urban infill project activati... More

Amsterdam’s iconic Droogbak building transformed into a 21st-century office space for a prestigious law firm
24 Jun 2022 News
Amsterdam’s iconic Droogbak building transformed into a 21st-century office space for a prestigious law firm

An iconic 19th-century building next to Amsterdam Central Station, Droogbak has been transformed int... More

Renovated hacienda-style villa in Belgium respects its history while exploring form and materials
24 Jun 2022 News
Renovated hacienda-style villa in Belgium respects its history while exploring form and materials

House VD-B by Graux & Baeyens architecten is a renovated hacienda-style villa in Evergem, Belgiu... More

Landmark urban renewal project comes to the heart of Bruges with the completion of The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC)
22 Jun 2022 News
Landmark urban renewal project comes to the heart of Bruges with the completion of The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC)

In the heart of the historic city of Bruges, The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC) is a... More

Award-winning New Museum of Ethnography by NAPUR Architect opens in Budapest
22 Jun 2022 News
Award-winning New Museum of Ethnography by NAPUR Architect opens in Budapest

Designed by NAPUR Architect, the recently opened New Museum of Ethnography in Budapest is a purpose-... More

New Royal College of Art campus by Herzog & de Meuron unveiled in Battersea
22 Jun 2022 News
New Royal College of Art campus by Herzog & de Meuron unveiled in Battersea

The Royal College of Art unveiled its new campus in Battersea, London this past month.  With a... More