Saieh Hall for Economics

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The Saieh Hall for Economics reimagines a seminary and connects historic buildings and landscapes to create a new academic precinct. Working with the neighborhood, the City, and the University, this project created a new academic center and open space for the academic and neighborhood communities, all while preserving the surrounding neighborhood scale and exploring the intersection between historic and contemporary design.

Re-inventing historic spaces in the former Seminary creates innovative academic, social, and collaborative settings. The chapel became a multipurpose Commons. The dormitory is now offices, seminar and conference rooms. The library is now a tiered classroom, and the attic a light-filled graduate student loft.

A new classroom is constructed below a planted terrace, and building systems are located below-grade to minimize additional footprint. The site design extends the University’s historic Quad over a former street, adding 36,000sf of open space and planting 60 new trees.

A new Research Pavilion connects the seminary to the Center’s renovated houses, responding to its residential setting on one side while establishing a dynamic new façade on the other.

Combining new design, preservation, and sustainability, the first phase of the project was awarded LEED Gold certification, and the second phase is targeting LEED Silver.

Architect of Record

Ann Beha Architects

Associate Architect



University of Chicago

General Contractor

Turner Construction Company


  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • dbHMS
  • OLIN