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Library space a great architectural IDEA

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IDEA Commons

The Daley Library’s IDEA Commons, which won two architecture awards, offers meeting, study and performance space and high-tech labs.

Photo: Joshua Clark

The Daley Library IDEA Commons has proven popular among UIC students since it opened a year ago. 

Now it's been recognized by Chicago's architecture establishment as well.

The American Institute of Architects' Chicago chapter awarded the IDEA Commons two Design Excellence citations of merit. In all, the chapter recognized 45 projects around the world that were designed by Chicago architecture firms.

The Design Excellence citations were in the categories of distinguished building and interior architecture. Juries of renowned architects from around the country selected the winners from a field of more than 250 entries. The awards were presented at the architecture group’s 57th annual Designight in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.

The IDEA Commons was designed by David Woodhouse Architects and funded by private philanthropy and student fees for library/IT assessment and maintenance. 

Occupying half of the first floor of the Richard J. Daley Library, the IDEA Commons offers flexible meeting spaces, a café, performance space, moveable furniture, high-tech classrooms, designated reading areas, more than 100 computers and an instructional technology lab/student media lab.

"We wanted to learn from what worked for others,” said Mary Case, head of the UIC Library.

“We also wanted to be attentive to the attractiveness of the space to students, and respectful to Walter Netsch's original architecture."

The space is open to UIC students, faculty and staff around the clock from 1 p.m. Sundays through 7 p.m. Fridays.


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