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Project

Charles M. Harper Center

The Charles M. Harper Center's signature architectural element is the 10,000-square-foot winter garden that is framed with structural steel and clad entirely with glass.

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Project Details

Project Partners
Rafael Viñoly Architects
Owner
The University of Chicago
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Completion Date
Area
415,000 ft²
Number of Stories
5
Project Awards

AIA Chicago, Divine Detail Award, 2008

SEAOI, Most Innovative Structure Award, 2006

AISC, Merit Award, 2005

Midwest Construction, Project of the Year: Higher Education / Research, 2005

The Charles M. Harper Center at the University of Chicago. © Feinknopf Photography
The Charles M. Harper Center at the University of Chicago. © Feinknopf Photography
The Charles M. Harper Center at the University of Chicago. © Feinknopf Photography
The Charles M. Harper Center at the University of Chicago. © Feinknopf Photography
The Charles M. Harper Center at the University of Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti
The Charles M. Harper Center at the University of Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti

Supporting a large span of glass to create a Gothic-style atrium

The Charles M. Harper Center is a 415,000-square-foot, five-story graduate academic facility located on the University’s main Hyde Park campus. The building is composed of a base building with five above-grade levels and two below-grade levels, and a glass-enclosed winter garden.

We provided structural design services to Rafael Viñoly Architects for the project that features 12 classrooms, 31 group-study rooms, faculty offices, computer laboratories, multipurpose rooms and an underground parking garage for 170 cars.

Highlights

  • The architectural design, marked by the building’s horizontal massing and cantilevered exterior walls, reference Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style of the neighboring Robie House.
  • The resulting cantilevers range from three feet to 42 feet and required more than 600 moment connections.
  • A signature architectural element is the 10,000-square-foot winter garden that is framed with structural steel and clad entirely with glass.
  • The atrium soars 83 feet at its apex, with the roof supported by four main columns.

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