An Award-winning Project for University of Chicago by Elkus Manfredi Architects
Situated on the southern boundary of the campus adjacent to a picturesque neighborhood, the Woodlawn Residential and Dining Commons exemplifies the University of Chicago's educational philosophy by embracing the House system. This distinctive system encourages personal and intellectual growth by fostering a sense of community and promoting intellectual exchange among closely-knit groups of undergraduates. The building design implemented by Elkus Manfredi Architects, features three six-story wings and one fifteen-story wing. It is located just a short walk from UChicago's main quadrangle and includes a single-story amenities level that serves all residents. Additionally, the rooftop courtyard provides a tranquil space for residents to unwind and reconnect with nature.
The Woodlawn Residential and Dining Commons provides on-campus housing for 1,298 students, contributing to the University's goal of 75 percent of undergraduates living on campus. The program includes eleven houses accommodating 118 residents each, with 30 percent of students in singles, 30 percent in doubles, and 40 percent in four-bedroom apartments.
Each house's floor plans encourage interaction between upperclassmen in the apartments and underclassmen in the single and double accommodations. State-of-the-art amenities are available, including academic and social spaces and a dining common that can accommodate up to 650 students.
The building's configuration creates a welcoming courtyard with verdant plantings and floor-to-ceiling glass, revealing activity in the study spaces and dining common. The south-facing elevated greenspace rooftop courtyard provides a relaxing area for residents. The House system allows students to live, learn, and dine together in communities that foster personal and intellectual growth.
The living rooms of each house serve as three-floor common areas that physically and metaphorically connect the residents. The Woodlawn student residence's common areas cultivate student development by promoting community and intellectual exchange within the tight-knit cohorts of undergraduates.
Ground-floor amenities include study spaces, kitchen and dining facilities, multi-use rooms, music rooms, and package and laundry facilities.
The 25,000-sqft Dining Commons reinforces the residential House system with dedicated seating for each community, creating an environment for students and community members to connect.
Apartments for staff and Resident Deans are located on the ground level, enlivening the edge of campus and providing opportunities for students and staff to connect with the Woodlawn neighborhood.
Each House consists of three stacked 40-person floorplates containing a variety of single and double rooms for first- and second-year students and private apartments with kitchens and bathrooms for third- and fourth-year students who want greater independence.
The upper level cladding of lightweight, high-performance concrete panels in groups of three stories contributes to cost-effective and sustainable building systems, with a limestone color and vertical proportions referencing original UChicago buildings to the north in the historic campus core.
About Elkus Manfredi Architects
Elkus Manfredi Architects is a full-service design firm providing architecture, master planning, urban design, interior architecture, historic preservation, space planning, programming, and experiential graphic design. Their diverse portfolio of work includes planning and design for environments of work, living, learning, play, and innovation. The firm is especially known for its strategic work in mixed-use placemaking that fosters inclusive community and creative innovation, as well as strategic workplace solutions that engage users and enhance performance.