Charles M. Harper Center, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business
- Division: Institutional
- Location: Chicago, IL
- Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects PC
- Client: The University of Chicago
- General contractor: Turner Construction Company
- Consultants: Thornton Tomasetti (Structural engineer)
This new structure on a prominent site on the University of Chicago campus does not overtly continue the institution's tradition of university Gothic architecture. But high above the building's vast winter garden lobby is a glass atrium that is true to its school: it's a quadripartite pointed vault roof, rendered in glass with steel ribs. The four tall columns that support the roof are a fine match of looks and works. While they smartly fit in to the glassy Gothicism, they also funnel rainwater from the roof down through their centers to drain into a reservoir. In winter, they concentrate the weight of rooftop snow on the column axis, alleviating stress on the span. Jurors appreciated the columns as "essential to the success of the winter garden" as a welcoming commons for business students and faculty. They noted that the near-transparency of the columns enhanced the feeling of openness that characterizes the lobby.