Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) combines rigorous academic and scientific research with a 357-bed residence hall, resulting in a unique living/learning community. The innovative program combines laboratories, academic classrooms, student residences, dining and faculty offices. The design team sought to create a state-of-the-art, low-resource consumption, high-comfort environment that would foster interaction and provide a transformative and lasting educational experience. 

The IES's focal point is an iconic greenhouse, which links the residential, academic and social spaces of the building into a unified complex. The greenhouse also provides a flexible research laboratory where students and researchers study urban environmental issues and policies. The residence hall houses undergraduates enrolled in the program and committed to becoming agents of change for a more sustainable society. Given the site's urban restrictions, the design team worked within tight constraints to identify synergies between the functional needs of the academic and student life programs while leveraging the building's form to advance the project's sustainability goals. The LEED Gold, Net-Zero Ready building utilizes natural ventilation, geothermal heating and cooling from Chicago's largest geothermal field, rain water collection, grey water systems, green roofs and living walls.

Architect of record

Devon Patterson
Solomon Cordwell Buenz
625 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Phone: 312.896.1107

General contractor

Terry Graber
Power Construction Company
8750 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60631, USA
Phone: 312-596-6960

Consultant 1

Don McLauchlan
Elara Engineering
30 N. Wolf Rd., #2
Hillside, IL 60162, USA
Phone: 708.236.0200

Consultant 2

Gregory Lakota
Halvorson and Partners
600 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654, USA
Phone: 312.274.2400

Consultant 3

Erik Olsen
Transsolar, Inc.
134 Spring St.
New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone: 212.219.2255

Consultant 4

James Stevenson
Clauss Brothers, Inc.
360 W. Schaumburg Rd.
Streamwood, IL 60107, USA
Phone: 630.830.7405

Consultant 5

Jerry Sienkiewicz
500 Griswold St., Suite 1700
Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Phone: 313.442.8360

Consultant 6

Laura Shafer
V3 Companies
7325 Janes Ave
Woodridge, IL 60517, USA
Phone: 630.729.6216


Dave Burk
Hedrich Blessing Photographers
400 N. Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60622, USA
Phone: 312.491.1101