The McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC) at 33rd and State Streets opened in September 2003. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, he was chosen for the project as a result of an international design competition in 1997-98.
In his essay “Miestakes,”Koolhaas describes the current IIT campus as marooned...swimming in space.” It had been “scraped” clean of its urban density, he says, and a long period of decay had resulted in the “disappearance of the city around it.” Now “it is no longer a void in an urban condition, but it is a void in a void.” And within the campus was still another void, where the Green Line and a long strip of surface parking lots cut the dorms to the east off from the classrooms to the west.
Koolhaas - whose blue-chip roster of participants in the Campus Center project includes the Chicago firms Studio/Gang/Architects and Holabird & Root, as well as international powerhouse Ove Arup - rejected the competition's requirement that the different functions of the Campus Center be stacked in a multistory building to muffle the noise from the “L.” He opted instead to "make a very flat building" in which the different elements-sports bar, bookstore, post office, cafe-would continually rub up against one another, creating new hybrid activities and a “simulation” of the dynamics of the urban condition. The “culture of congestion” in a single building.
For two days in 1997 Koolhaas used a team of students to track movement across the campus through the project site. They came up with a web of heavily traveled paths, which Koolhaas turned into walkways through the building that divide it into a “series of islands,” each with its own function and visual character.
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