Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons serves as a learning commons for students with an open, modern design and breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
As a library designed for the digital age, the Information Commons provides space for collaborative learning and web-based research. The building’s site inspired the design team to create a modern, transparent building that offers unobstructed views to the water from campus, while also respecting the historic architectural context of the main academic quad. The resulting design links the university’s past to its future through clear glass walls enclosed between limestone “bookends” using materials, scale, and details similar to those of the surrounding historic buildings.
Matching the Information Commons’ inventive digital library program is an equally innovative approach to mechanical and structural systems. The building features a double skin western façade to pre-heat and cool air, an automated window system along the east facade to capture and utilize airflow along Lake Michigan, radiant flooring, and a computer-controlled shading system to attain energy efficiency. Designed in collaboration with Transsolar Inc., the LEED Silver certified building reduces energy consumption by 52% while maintaining a comfortable interior environment for users.
2012 AIA Chicago Design Excellence Awards, SustainABILITY – Leadership Citation of Merit
2009 Patron of the Year Chicago Architecture Foundation
2009 ASHRAE First Place Society Level Technology/Excellence in Engineering Award
2009 The Structural Engineers Association of Illinois- Most Innovative Structure Award
2008 IBS Awards- Highly Commended Honorable Mention
2008 Chicago Building Congress – Best New Construction
2007 Leaf Award Best Use of Technology
2007 Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) New Construction (Chicago) Project of the Year
2008 ASHRAE Illinois Chapter Excellence in Engineering Award
2008 ASHRAE First Place Regional Technology Award Region VI