DePaul’s Proposed Architecture School Bridges Streets, Minds

A bold new design to adjoin the DePaul University campus at State and Van Buren with a student housing tower across the street makes use of two very visible trends in green building: the use of air rights and vegetated roofing.

Designed by Yi Huang, Tian Tan & Xu Zhang, Green Roof City calls for a new School of Architecture to be constructed between the two existing sites. The ramped building would tie the two plots together and a tower housing student accommodation is located at the southern end of the site, so as to maximize views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

Covering more than 2.5 million square feet, Chicago’s green roofs represent the largest collection in the nation. This project would seek to build upon the existing green roof infrastructure in the city and envisions a Chicago with avenues of greenery linking rooftops together. The inhabitable green roof is a ramped access between the two buildings, and is itself an exciting recreational space.

In what may be a bureaucratic nightmare to overcome, the plan calls for constructing not only over Van Buren Street, but the L tracks as well. If approved, however, it would be a coup for sun-loving pedestrians; instead of traversing the dimly-lit streetscape below the tracks, foot traffic would be free to take in the green roof above them.

Rotating timber screens on the façade of the student housing tower serve several functions. They can be closed for privacy or shade, or opened for daylight and ventilation. They also provide a dynamic, in flux quality for the skin of the tower.

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