top of page

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Co-op Center

Chicago, IL, United States

The 14th floor of the 112 and 116 South Michigan Ave buildings has become the new home for the SAIC Career Services group, which is part of the Student Affairs department. In developing a direct connection between these two buildings, the circulation and spatial experience has been transformed.

The intervention here extends an existing student lounge from the 112 building to the 116 building. This approach expands the student experience and captures stunning views out to Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Working with the challenge of a 2’-1” elevation difference between the two floors, we have made this into a design feature that the students are invited to experience, not just pass through.

The existing floor plate was long and narrow and the circulation spaces were areas that users wanted to quickly pass through to get to their destination. Since we believe the journey is just as important as the destination, the circulation was shifted to be against the ‘core’ of the building. With this arrangement, the columns create a repetition of movement that becomes a feature and not a physical barrier. These spaces become ‘student alcoves’ for conversation, secluded study or peaceful meditation. The programed office spaces, both private and semi-private, are located to the exterior walls, with the potential classrooms to the west end of the floor.


  • AIA Chicago Interior Architecture Award

  • ALA Design Awards, Gold Award

  • Iida Red Award for Higher Education

bottom of page