IIT Campus Center
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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