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Chicago UIC Forum

The jewel of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s South Campus Mixed Use Development program is the award-winning, 75,000-square-foot Forum.

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Project Details

Project Partners
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
Completion Date
75,000 ft²
University of Illinois at Chicago UIC Forum in Chicago, Illinois. James Steinkamp / Steinkamp Photography
University of Illinois at Chicago UIC Forum in Chicago, Illinois. James Steinkamp / Steinkamp Photography


Located in a prominent area on UIC’s campus, the Forum serves as a venue for both the University and the public, accommodating a variety of events within its flexible floor plan. To accommodate all of the programs the University envisioned for the Forum - including meetings, trade shows, speaking engagements, concerts, banquets, receptions and commencements - the design team created a large, open, flexible space that can move and transform to a user’s need. An iconic feature of the Forum is its lightwell column, a 99-foot-tall, four-foot-diameter exposed steel column that supports the overhanging trellis-like roof that provides shade to the outdoor gathering space below.

We provided structural design services to HOK for the facility, which opened in 2008.


  • The design was achieved by using several 36-foot-tall moveable partitions which are hung from two of four 124-foot-span trusses.
  • The partitions allow the 23,800-square-foot open space event area to be reconfigured into three smaller 7,900-square-foot meeting spaces. By maximizing the tributary width of the trusses to 64 feet on center and adjusting the truss member sizes, we were able to optimize the steel tonnage and save the University costs on the fabrication and erection of the fewer, heavier long-span trusses.
  • Due to poor soil conditions, a caisson supported structural slab at grade was used to eliminate soil differential settlement and minimize cracking.
  • The caisson-supported structural slab made it possible to install telescoping bleacher seating in the building by limiting the occurrence of any significant vertical peaks and valleys that can cause bleachers to become inoperable.
  • The column wall thickness is 1-1/4 inch at the bottom and tapers to 5/8 inch above the trellis roof connection.