Perkins Eastman has released plans for a two-story expansion and redesign of the SOM-designed Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, Illinois. Construction on the 63,500 square foot building has just begun, and once completed, will serve as the renewed home of the University’s Department of Physics. The addition and renovation will create a new physics hub on campus that will allow students of different sub-disciplines to collaborate under the same roof for the first time.
The original cast-in-place concrete structure was designed by SOM in 1964 and featured a symmetrical floor plan and a storefront glass facade system that wrapped around the entire building. Perkins Eastman’s plan will update the building’s aesthetic with a contemporary steel-hung glass system and stacked bond stone walls, complementing the clean lines of the SOM design. At the base, the existing building will remain visible.
“In addition to bringing into modern use an existing campus building, the new LASR building will contribute to the University’s vibrant North Science Quadrangle and create a strong and mature building befitting the quality and caliber of intellectual pursuits by the Department of Physics,” says Jerry R. Walleck, Managing Principal of Perkins Eastman’s Chicago office and Principal-in-Charge of the project.
The addition will feature new offices and collaborative spaces along the building’s interior perimeter, allowing corridors to be filled with daylight, while light-sensitive laboratories will be located in the basement and interior of the building. The two largest gathering spaces will be featured prominently on the facade: a cantilevered seminar room will provide unobstructed interior space capable of accommodating large groups of people, and a double-height commons will connect to an outdoor roof terrace and offer views of the campus Quad.
The building has been designed to reach LEED silver metrics, taking advantage of natural light sources and employing treated glass to reduce the need for artificial lighting while reducing solar gain. Heating a cooling will be provided through overhead hydronic beams to treat the air more efficiently than in traditional forced air systems.
The building is expected to be completed summer 2017.
LocationEckhardt, 5640 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, United States
PhotographsCourtesy of Perkins Eastman