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Bartlett Commons

University of Chicago | Chicago, IL

Bartlett Commons, built in 1901 as the University of Chicago’s major athletic facility, had fallen into disrepair. The University’s goals were to reclaim and restore the significant neo-gothic building; encourage a spirit of association on campus; and reinforce the identity and social experience of the undergraduate residential “houses.” The school landmark is now a major 550-seat, three-story dining hall and gathering space.

Features of the new Commons include an exhibition cooking servery, themed food stations and a late-night convenience store. New materials, colors and details enhance the building’s historic features. The Commons’ iconic suspended running track is restored as lounge space. Bruner/Cott carefully preserved the limestone, timber and steel shell of the building, and a new energy-efficient, full-length skylight fills the space with natural light. Repairs used original limestone harvested from areas of the building covered by the new addition. Contemporary systems include a new central production kitchen, major truck loading dock, 250 tons of HVAC, elevators, and full code upgrades. A gently sloped seating area provides full accessibility to the building without ramps or railings.


2006   American Institute of Architects – Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture
2005   Association of College Unions – International Facility Design Award
2003   Boston Society of Architects – Higher Education Facilities Award
2003   Building Design and Construction – Grand Award Winner for Reconstruction
2002   Boston Society of Architects – Honor Award
2002   Midwest Construction – Project of the Year

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64,000 sf

COST (2002)

$13.5 million