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Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

This innovative center at Loyola’s Lakeshore campus stays true to its sustainable mission as it integrates diverse program, strategies and structures – including a striking central greenhouse.

Loyola Institute for Environmental Sustainability, Chicago

The 250,000 square foot complex of new and renovated structures combines nearly all program types of a college - including classrooms, labs, offices, residences and community space – into a cohesive whole. The existing 11-story Wright Hall was refurbished for residences above, and the three lower levels were overhauled and expanded to include state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratory space. The new, contiguous San Francisco Residence Hall provides additional dormitories within a six-story courtyard building and three-story north wing extension. Linking Wright and San Francisco Halls, a three-story podium for student amenities features a dining hall, large lobby, recreational spaces and a crowning winter garden.

Loyola Institute for Environmental Sustainability, Chicago

The structure takes active part in the sustainable mission of this project. Green roofs and water-harvesting were incorporated throughout, with roof structures designed for additional plant and water holding loads. Geothermal wells were integrated densely under the center of the complex and coordinated around foundations, with all pipes coming into a central glass-topped pit as a feature display in the lobby. The Central Greenhouse integrates radiant floor heating/cooling within the structural slabs. And, as always, WSP USA, formerly Halvorson and Partners, focused on finding efficient structural solutions that use the least amount of new materials, including in areas of renovation.

The centerpiece of the IES is the winter garden – a naturally ventilated greenhouse with a glass enclosure that continuously curves from the roof down along the west side of the building. The enclosure is supported on a system of curved steel trusses with a triangular cross section – double top chord and single bottom chord. This configuration of the chords minimized the amount of structure that would block views out of the green house.