Sustainable Chicago Features Roosevelt University In New Issue

The digital publication Sustainable Chicago features Roosevelt University on the cover of its new edition — more precisely, it features Roosevelt’s new Wabash Building as part of a discussion of past, present, and future Chicago architecture in Matt Baker’s “Roosevelt University Eyes the Future” article.

Roosevelt and VOA ultimately decided on the undulating, 35-story, blue gem that has risen up from behind the cliff of buildings along Michigan Avenue. The 420,000 square foot building, whose zigzag façade is inspired in part by Constantin Brâncusi’s sculpture, The Endless Column, also features an offset core to suit the many large assembly spaces needed on any college campus.

Because the northern exposure was the only one in danger of being occluded by future development, they suffered little loss by moving the core to the north and losing possible views.

Constantin Brâncusi’s The Endless Column
Shifting the core and hanging dozens of stories over open, column-free spaces created a challenge for MKA, Inc., the engineering firm of record on the project. In addition to internal cantilevering, the whole structure cantilevers over the Auditorium Building so as not to interfere with its foundation.

But to Groesbeck, this isn’t just a building, it is a vertical campus. The floors are color-coded on a neighborhood concept; green is at the bottom and contains administrative offices, the red floors contain dining halls, a fitness center and student activities, classrooms and labs are orange, the yellow floors house the business school and topping it all are the dormitories on the blue floors.

The views were dedicated to where students would spend most of their time. Most floors have a common area overlooking the lake to the east and several atria connect floors to facilitate pedestrian traffic. The exit stairways, with their glass-front doors on each level, are also meant to be used on a daily basis in lieu of the elevators.

“If you had taken this program and spread it out somewhere else, you’d be taking up a lot of land, you’d be extending infrastructure,” said Groesbeck. “The actual savings in energy and resources by staying here is enormous.” The building will achieve at least LEED Silver, though Groesbeck is hopeful for Gold.

They employed several strategies to hit high Silver, such as FSC-certified wood products and low-VOC paints and adhesives for superior indoor air quality. During demolition, all of the Crown Center’s concrete was recycled and 92% of all waste was diverted from landfills.

Click on the link above for pictures and a full description of the new building. It will host resident students and classes for the Fall 2012 semester, and registration for those classes is now open. Here are the Sustainability Studies offerings for the fall:

We have three sections of SUST 210 The Sustainable Future, one downtown Monday evenings, one in Schaumburg Tuesday evenings, and one online.

Professor Mike Bryson will teach SUST 220 Water as a hybrid class meeting downtown on five Saturdays and online the rest of the semester. Many significant developments are happening to waterways and wetlands in the region, and this seminar is an excellent place to learn both present changes and past context.

SUST 230 Food will be offered at our Schaumburg campus on Thursday evenings.

Professor Carl Zimring is scheduled to teach two sections of SUST 240 Waste, one downtown Thursday afternoons at 3pm and one online. These sections will run after the City of Chicago concludes its managed competition recycling program, and students will have an opportunity to evaluate local waste reduction and diversion efforts.

Professor Zimring will also offer a Thursday evening section of SUST 310 Energy and Climate Change downtown, on the heels of the announcement that the Fisk and Crawford power plants will soon close.

Professor Brad Hunt will teach a hybrid version of SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning meeting five select Saturdays in Schaumburg and online the rest of the semester. This hybrid seminar is scheduled in such a way that students may take it and the hybrid SUST 220 Water seminar without worry about meeting times conflicting.

We are also offering an online section of SUST 330 Biodiversity, and a downtown section of SUST 340 Policy Law and Ethics that will meet Wednesday evenings.

More information about instructors and individual courses will be made available in the weeks ahead. Visit our faculty page to learn more about these teachers. If you are a currently-enrolled Roosevelt University student interested in taking one or more Sustainability Studies courses, please get in touch with your academic advisor. (As this autumn’s courses filled up quickly, we encourage you to register sooner rather than later.) If you are not currently a Roosevelt University student, we encourage you to investigate our degree options, and our course listings. For more information, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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