Bing Thom Architects to Design University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong

Mount Davis, . Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

The has chosen Bing Thom Architects to design a new home for the Chicago Booth Asia Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong. The center will begin construction in October 2014 on Mount Davis, a heritage site that was originally used as a military encampment for the British Army in the 1940s and then a detention center.

Studio Gang to Design New Residence Hall and Dining Commons for UChicago

Courtesy of

Studio Gang Architects will design a new residence hall and dining commons for the University of Chicago, officials announced today. Expected to open in 2016, the new facility will stand at the corner of 55th Street and University Ave and will act as a gateway connecting the Hyde Park community to the rest of the University.  ’s studio was chosen out of dozens of entries, in a process that called upon the input of faculty, staff, students, as well as community and University stakeholders.

Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

© Tom Rossiter

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects’ highly anticipated multidisciplinary arts center has opened at the University of in . Serving as a landmark on the south end of campus, the 184,000 square foot Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts is the new home to UChicago’s academic and extracurricular programs in cinema and media studies, creative writing, music, theater and performance studies, and the visual arts.

Inspired by the “flat prairies of the Midwest and the great towers of Chicago”, the new arts hub is comprised of a light-filled glass and stone tower and a three-story “podium” with a saw-tooth roof. The 170-foot tower houses a performance penthouse, screening room, rooftop deck, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and performance labs, while the podium features studio space, music practice rooms, workshops, a café, a digital media center, production and editing labs, two theaters, and a 474-seat performance hall.

The University is pursuing LEED Silver Certification for the Logan Center, as the design features regionally sourced materials, a “green roof,” and solar panels.

More images and the architects’ description after the break…

Are there TOO Many Cultural Centers?

The TAUBMAN MUSEUM OF ART in Roanoke, Virginia, USA, one of the Case Studies of the Set in Stone Report.
Architects: Randall Stout Architects, Inc.; Associate Architects: Rodriguez Ripley Maddux Motley Architects.

In a word, yes.

While the Cultural Policy Center of the University of Chicago would never put it that way, that is essentially the conclusion of their “Set in Stone” Report, released today.

The Report, a consolidation of 15 years of research involving over 800 building projects and 500 organizations, gathered hard evidence to find out: what influences a cultural building’s success or failure? The question is a relevant one: between 1994 and 2008 there has been a building boom of performing arts centers, museums, and theaters in the U.S., costing cities billions of dollars. And unfortunately, supply has outrun demand.

The biggest problem the Report identifies is that cities and towns, many of which have recently experienced improved education/income and enthusiastically undertake these projects, often overestimate the actual need for these centers in their communities. Thus, when they run into financial difficulties (most do: over 80% of the projects surveyed ran over-budget, some up to 200%), the centers become economic drains rather than cultural boons.

In other words: Just because you build it, it doesn’t mean they will come.

So what does make for a successful Cultural Center? More after the break…

University of Chicago – South Campus Chiller Plant / Murphy/Jahn

© Rainer Viertlboeck

The project for a new chiller plant at the University of Chicago provided the opportunity to design for function, performance, materials, construction while simultaneously considering how the technical equipment could be displayed as if it were a piece of art. The resulting expression of the South Campus Chiller Plant is a modern celebratory display of technical equipment. As the utility equipment is exposed, other elements of construction remain “uncovered” – concrete walls and floors, steel structure, ducts, light fixtures, and pipes.

The University of Chicago – South Campus Chiller Plant received the 2009 Chapter Award, the 2008 Chicago Architecture Foundation Patron of The Year Award, and the 2008 Midwest Construction’s Best Award.

Architects: Murphy Jahn
Location: Chicago,
Client: University of Chicago
Lead Designer: Helmut Jahn
Structural Engineer: Burns & McDonnel, Werner Sobek Engineering & Design
MEP: Burns & McDonnel , Primera
Project Area: 26,400 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Rainer Viertlboeck

Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien & Associates

Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts, © Tod Williams Billie Tsien
Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts, © Tod Williams Billie Tsien

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, a renowned practice with expertise in public/ buildings, just unveiled the details for the new Reva and David Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the .

This new building will offer 170,000sqf for studios, rehearsal space, director’s cut screening rooms, state–of–the art acoustical theaters, lecture rooms and set–building shops, that will be shared by many departments including visual arts, theater, music, as well as cinema and media studies.

The project includes a 11-story tall tower, which will become a new landmark at the south of the campus. At the top of this tower we find the Performance Penthouse, a tall space for performances and rehearsals with an amazing view over the city (see render below).

The rest of the complex is distributed on smaller buildings, with an interesting set of skylights to naturally lit the interiors.

As usual in Tod Williams Billie Tsien works, such as the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the Phoenix Art Museum and the East Asian Library at Berkeley, the simplicity of the materials (stone and glass) give the building a contemporary yet ageless look, a building that will stand over time, not just a fad.

More renderings after the break.