Northwestern University School of Communication Center for Communication and Health

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The Northwestern University School of Communication’s Center for Communication and Health seeks to improve the quality and safety of healthcare as patients experience it, to improve the health of populations, and to reduce the cost of care by applying the interdisciplinary tools of communication arts and sciences to the most pressing challenges in healthcare.  The Center’s new departmental office helps to meet those objectives by providing a variety of spaces for professors, students, and academic staff to perform research, collaborate, work, and study.

Housed in a former university dormitory, the Center exploits the existing central row of closely set pairs of structural columns as an organizing feature.  Reception, breakout, and informal teaming spaces are clustered around a sustainably-harvested Plyboo accent wall along the architectural spine.  Plyboo is employed again as a unifying ceiling ribbon element with integrated lighting which encircles the space to serve as a wayfinding element, while masking ductwork and other systems. 

Perimeter rooms intersect the ceiling ribbon and feature glazed walls to admit natural light to the interior spaces and to maintain views over Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan beyond.  Enclosed spaces house faculty offices, meeting rooms, and labs.   Staff and students occupy a lofted open office environment with individual workstations and collaborative venues.  The space was designed to provide both private work areas and to foster communication between research faculty and students.

Architect of Record

Chad Harrell
Griskelis Young Harrell
400 N Michigan Ave
Suite 1600
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: 312-645-0011

General Contractor

Michael Colliander
Bear Construction
221 N LaSalle
Suite 3500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Phone: 847-222-1900

Consultant 1

Steve Sovak
WMA Consulting Engineers
815 S Wabash
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: 312-786-4310


Christopher Nigro

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