Facility Focus (Student Commons and Informal Learning Spaces)

Loyola University Chicago: Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES)

Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES)


The Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) is the next step in the evolution of student housing with academic integration and aggressive sustainability goals creating a unique and transformative educational experience. In addition to the academic portion of the program, the 215,000-square-foot complex is comprised of San Francisco Hall — a 357-bed student residence — and a winter garden that links the buildings, providing dining, amenities and a greenhouse. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) of Chicago, The IES is a multidisciplinary, research-based facility that includes classrooms, research and teaching labs, a clean energy lab, an aquaponics farming display and the greenhouse. The residential portion of the program is a freshman and sophomore residence, which includes a café and recreation areas integrated into the activities and environmental systems of the IES.

The inclusive programming and planning approach fosters interdisciplinary interactions between academic sectors, student social groups and the local community. IES recalls the Jeffersonian academic model of integrated living and learning by combining student residential living spaces with experiential learning facilities. Traditional classrooms and student housing are linked with an innovative, passive greenhouse learning space that engages students to live sustainably, showcases urban farming and harvests building thermal energy from Chicago’s largest integrated hybrid geothermal building system. The design combines these different program elements and results in a Net Zero-Ready community. Sustainable building strategies include natural ventilation, geothermal heating and cooling, rain water collection, grey water systems, green roofs and living walls.

SCB team members included Managing Principal Mark Frisch, Design Principal Devon Patterson, Project Manager Brett Boaz, Senior Project Architect David Swain, and Project Architect Monica Willemsen Dilkes. General contracting services were provided by Power Construction Team; Elara Engineering Services, Inc. served as MEP/FP engineers; structural engineering provided by Halvorson and Partners; landscape by the Clauss Brothers; and environmental consulting provided by Transsolar, Inc., as the climate engineers.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .