Roosevelt University

February 19, 2015

The Wabash Building: A Vertical Campus

Great Norther Lumber Roosevelt University

To meet the challenge of placing over 20,000 cubic yards of concrete over 33 stories on this cramped urban site, Great Northern Lumber has marshaled its expertise with McHugh Construction to design a unique concrete placing device to allow for pouring the core without using a full-sized placing boom. Other innovations included the use of a self-climbing core form system that rose without the need for any crane time and designing the core forms with a working platform to accommodate loads from reinforcing steel laydown and suspended access stairs.

Several days after the official opening of Roosevelt University’s new vertical tower, invited guests were treated to a tour of the newest addition to the Chicago skyline.

The 143-meter (470 feet) slender strip of wavy blue-green glass is one of the tallest university campuses in the world, with a full array of classrooms, offices and student facilities stacked below more than 600 student residences.

The project provided a wide array of challenges for the architects and engineers, according to GNL president Jeffrey Currier. In addition to creating a modern university with space for social and cultural interactions, the tower needed to connect to the University’s existing auditorium Building, a historic landmark.

GNL Roosevelt Construction“It had to be part of the larger campus, part of the larger urban fabric,” Mr. Currier said.

“We want to bring together students and professionals in different ways,” said Jacob Moore, the Sales Manager of Great Northern Lumber.  “Roosevelt University provided a great opportunity to get an insider’s view of one of the most distinctive and innovative new buildings in Chicago.”

The Roosevelt tower has already drawn praise for its efficiency and character, which makes it more than eye-candy.  The design was reportedly inspired by the stacked rhomboids of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s “Endless Column”.

“It is an almost monolithic piece of architectural sculpture that fully takes advantage of its prime position across from Chicago’s front yard,” Jeffrey Currier says.  “Like the Trump International Hotel & Tower, it assumes ever-shifting identities as the sun and clouds play on it.  It is at once a foreground shape and a background building, its south front creating a perfect backdrop for the Auditorium’s muscular tower.”

An offset core helped free up space for social and study areas, in hopes of making the building more of a campus and less of an office building.  Large lecture halls, a dance auditorium, fitness facility and open study spaces were made possible by the design.

The zig-zag shape also accommodates communal study areas, offering spectacular views of Grant Park and the surrounding skyline.

“Universities are connected by the outer spaces, the space outside the classrooms,” Mr. Currier said.

Throughout the tower splashes of bright colors help define spaces.

For more information visit Great Northern Lumber’s Facebook page or contact Jacob Moore at (800) 288-2202 (Toll Free).