L I S A
C L A R K
B A C K G R O U N D
Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the McCormick Tribune Campus Center, which opened in 2003.1
Building design began in 1997 with a competition among some of the world’s biggest names in architecture, including Zaha Hadid, Peter Eisenman, and Kazuyo Sejima.2c
The McCormick Tribune Campus Center is in the center of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Campus, located in Chicago, Illinois. Koolhaas’s design is comprised of two parts: A one-story, 110,000 square-foot metal and glass building and a 530 foot long reinforced concrete and stainless steel tube that encases and muffles the noisy the El tracks overhead.3 The campus center housesIIT’s dining facilities, post office, bookstore, auditorium, meeting rooms, welcome center, coffee bar, radio station, and convenience store.4
S I T E
IIT’s new Campus center is located beneath the Chicago El train tracks. It sits between the residential (East) side of campus and the educational (West) side of campus. Mies van der Rohe designed IIT’s master plan and many of thebuildings on the campus, including The Commons, which is now attached to the McCormick Tribune Campus Center. Until Koolhaas’s new Campus Center, few buildings had been added to Mies’ orthogonal campus plan.5
Koolhaas’s design bridges between the residential and educational sides of campus with a central building that houses vital student services. His contemporary building reflects the architectureof the present and
compliments Mies Van der Rohe’s existing architecture and campus plan.
D E S I G N
C O N C E P T
Koolhaas used the challenging site as a point of departure for his design. He combined the existing diagonal pathways swathed by students walking across the former parking lot with the orthogonal grid of Mies’s campus to determine the footprint and circulationpaths within his building. Koolhaas used the paths as a datum for the organization of the building’s functions.6 The physical heart of the campus is our project. By not stacking activities, but by positioning each programmatic particle as part of a dense mosaic, our building contains the urban condition itself. To capture the sum of the student flows, the web of lines that connect the eastern andwestern campus destinations are organized through the campus centre to differentiate activities into streets, plazas and urban islands. Without fragmenting the overall building, each part is articulated according to its specific needs and positioned to create neighborhoods (24-hour, commercial, entertainment, academic, utilitarian), parks and other urban elements in miniature.7 -Rem Koolhaas Ratherthan hiding the El tracks that cut through the site, Koolhaas makes the train tracks a focal point by encasing them in a corrugated metal and concrete tube that muffles the noise of the passing trains.
S T R U C T U R E
The McCormick Tribune Campus Center employs separate structural systems for the one-story building, the tube, and the elevated tracks. The use of separatestructural systems minimizes vibration when trains pass overhead.8
We will examine the structural systems separately.
S T R U C T U R E :
B U I L D I N G
Miesian I-beam columns
Continuous concrete Roof Slab
The one story building sits on a poured concrete slab on grade. The foundations are up to 16 inches thick to accommodate the structure’s load, especially the heavyroof.9 The roof is a continuous concrete slab that varies in pitch to cover the building’s higher spaces, like the ballroom and auditorium. It muffles the sound and vibrations of passing trains. According to Koolhaas, the roof’s shape is derived from the form of a crushed violin.10 The building is being “crushed” by the tube that runs above it. Koolhaas uses black I-beams, a signature of Mies Van...