Chicago Architect March/April 2015 : Page 37

Several seminaries were attracted to the campus, lured by proximity to the University of Chicago Divinity School. Built in 1930, the Meadville Seminary is being renovated by New York-based Kliment Halsband Architects. It will become the Neubauer Collegium, where humanities and social science professors from all over the world will work in multidisciplinary teams, applying research models more often seen in the physical sciences. The $13 million project, to be completed this spring, leaves the exterior virtually untouched, but inside there is a radical shift in program that is accomplished in subtle ways. What was once a place for solitary contemplation of divinity will become a place for scholarship based on intense collaboration. The architects blew out walls to create nearly every type of social space imaginable: lecture halls, event spaces, galleries, and small and large meeting rooms. Kliment Halsband’s Frances Halsband, FAIA, likens these to social incubator hangout spaces more often seen in tech fi rms like Google. “We’re putting a very modern view of how people work into a super-traditional building,” she says. Some wood-paneled walls are being restored, but the most intense interventions, as in the lobby, are defi ned by panels of laser-cut steel. Glass plays a key role here, as it’s used to divide individual offi ces for researchers, keeping them visually connected to the hive of activity around them. “It’s all about seeing what’s happening right outside of your door,” says Halsband. Saieh Hall for Economics covers one wing’s former exterior in a glass-walled corridor, preserving its rich red brick in a building-scale vitrine; one example of the way Ann Beha Architects (ABA) used transparency to let the ABOVE The exterior of the Neubauer Collegium remains mostly untouched. OPPOSITE PAGE Laser-cut steel panels will de Ƃ ne the renovated lobby, one of the project’s most dramatically trans-formed spaces. 37 MARCH // APRIL // 2015 37

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