Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: Northwestern University
Contractor: Pepper Construction
Northwestern University’s Technological Institute is one of the largest academic buildings in the world and has undergone numerous additions and renovations since it was built in 1942. The latest expansion involves two infill additions designed to capitalize on space between existing wings. In addition to housing new laboratory and office facilities, each space features a light-filled interior atrium. The exterior of each addition blends seamlessly with the existing building. Materials used on the interior echo the building’s established modern industrial style and sturdy structure. The design centers around access to natural daylight, with each addition organized around its three-story steel-framed glass-roofed atrium, allowing light to reach into corridors, laboratories and offices. A glass floor in one of the atriums acts as a unique organizing element in this large building and allows light to travel even further between levels. The additions are popular meeting spaces for formal and informal gatherings of students, colleagues and departments outside of the research environment in a relaxed open community space.
Jury Comment: “From big ideas down to the details, there was a thoroughness that gave this project distinction. We liked the basic idea of taking this huge interlocking maze of a building and creating these new public spaces that offer a little relief from business as usual and something memorable and unique. The interior spaces are filled with light and beautifully detailed. This project has overall excellence. It upgraded everything. We appreciate the human scale, with the detail brought to eye level. There’s a coherence and a serenity in the new spaces.”
Photos: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photographers and Darris Lee Harris Photography