Chicago, Illinois / United States of America
Evolving over the past twenty years, North Park University has transformed from a collection of buildings constrained by the city grid to a verdant college campus. The L-shaped Johnson Center now anchors the northwest corner of the campus green. The horizontal bands of windows and terra cotta rain screen of its wings express its laboratory function, and the central wall of glass defines the entrance and identifies the importance of rooms behind, a two-story lobby surmounted by the University Boardroom, framing views of the campus and the Chicago skyline.
Upon entering, the lobby welcomes students and faculty to mingle. Student support programs and a café flank the entrance. Physics labs, loud and impactful, occupy the ground floor while biology and chemistry labs, located on the top floor, exhaust directly to the roof. Though lab buildings are among the highest energy-consumers, the Johnson Center's innovative hybrid mechanical system, daylight harvesting and green roof earned the building LEED Gold Certification.
The architecture is a contemporary interpretation of the historic masonry buildings of the campus; its clay-based terra cotta rain screen above a stone base recalls the first building of the campus, the 1895 Old Main Administration Building.