Roosevelt University –The Wabash Building
The Wabash Building for Roosevelt University is a 32-story, 420,000 square foot expansion adjacent and connected to both the existing campus and the landmark Auditorium Building designed by Adler and Sullivan. Located on a small 17,300 square foot, mid-block site, the new tower expresses Roosevelt University’s mission, which is deeply rooted in the principles of Social Justice and the symbolic importance of the Institution, as the central expression of the Burnham Plan for Chicago.
The new “Vertical Campus” is composed of connecting neighborhoods of Student Services, Student Union, academic and student residential environments, which emphasize the “out of class” spaces vital to a University atmosphere. The building form expresses these spaces and represents the transformational nature of the university experience. The grandeur of the classrooms and assembly spaces, with their area and height that connect to views of the City and Burnham Park, create a vertical urban sense of place not typical of tall buildings.
The planning develops a “servant-served” spatial relationship through an offset core that creates the long span necessary for the academic program. The materials complement the original expression of this historic landmark, with served space sheathed in glass and servant space in precast concrete, both expressing the quality of “gradation” reflected in the design of the stonework of the original Auditorium Building. The Wabash Building interconnects with the Auditorium Building on multiple levels creating a “campus” and providing support spaces for the Auditorium Theater. These include a practice room that connects directly to the Auditorium stage as well as an elevator that provides access to all levels of the Theater. The proposed LEED Gold design sustains the Auditorium Building, preserves the façade of the historical Fine Arts Annex and avails itself of the existing infrastructure and public transportation of this location. The building reasserts the importance of Institution for the sustainability of our communities.