Young Memorial Hall Interior Renovation

Interior Architecture Award Submission

The University of Chicago’s Facilities Services Department was the classic story of “The Shoemaker’s Children”---the people who plan the University’s celebrated campus were themselves confined in a grim 120-year-old hulk. The budget was shoestring too---$60/sf for construction and FF&E. Every step had to lead to their goal of a workplace energized by opportunities for intense collaboration, so we focused on places where people come together---the existing entry, staircase, and corridors, merged with new spaces for meeting and socializing.

The entry, a gallery showcasing the University’s new projects hollowed out of the stair tower, leads to the main corridor where a bas-relief campus map routed into wheatboard panels anchors the Activity Wall---a shared work surface faced with a patchwork of homasote, marker board, and wood panels. The Activity Wall is a vibrant four-story spine for collaborative pinups, brainstorming, and displays that links reception, hospitality, and gathering spaces.

We increased the spartan budget with team-building sweat equity, inviting Facilities Services to work with us to create their own workspace. We devised a Sol Lewitt rule set of brightly colored Chartpak tapes so that everyone could come together to create a co-operative mural that enfolds individualized, non-institutional office space.

David Woodhouse Architects
University of Chicago
  • dbHMS Engineering
  • Enspect Engineering
General contractor
Norcon, Inc
Chicago, Illinois