Illinois Institute of Technology Student Housing Program, Phases 1-3



Submitted by: Gilbane Building Co.

Owner: Illinois Institute of Technology

Lead Design Firm: Dirk Denison Architects

General Contractor: Gilbane Building Co.

Gilbane and Dirk Denison Architects partnered with Illinois Institute of Technology on the $65.7-million multiphased restoration and exterior facade replacement of three nine-story historic residence halls. Originally designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the team had to work with Illinois Tech’s Mies Van de Rohe committee to review design changes. Through collaboration, the project successfully maintained the historic design and brought the building up to current codes.

The halls, which completed in July 2022, incorporate 570 modified pod-style beds with common spaces in Kacek Hall and Cunningham Hall, while Carman Hall features 200 apartment-style dorms.

The existing nine-story concrete staircases did not meet current building codes. For the building to be brought up to code, one of the two staircases in each building had to be demolished and rebuilt larger in length and width. Extensive demolition and careful slab removal were required to ensure structural reinforcements within the slab were not cut. Each building’s footprint was reduced even further due to this code requirement, making it challenging to add the required number of beds.

With extensive energy modeling, the LEED Silver-designed facilities included upgrades to mechanical systems, building envelope and improved building efficiency, safety and ease of maintenance.

Illinois Institute of Technology Student Housing Program, Phases 1-3

Photo courtesy Tom Harris Photography

The team determined that the existing heating system, which ran within the slab, could no longer be used. The buildings had an existing slab-to-slab clearance of only 8 ft, 2 in., leaving very little room for new heating, cooling and fresh air ventilation systems. Careful review of multiple system options resulted in a split HVAC system, separating the heating and cooling from the ventilation and allowing more flexibility in distribution.

Each student housing facility was completed ahead of schedule, despite challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The crew utilized numerous lean methodologies, including target value design, early contractor engagement, advanced planning and scheduling and prefabrication. In addition, the team overlapped the construction of all three buildings to expedite the schedule by three months.