Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago

chicago_theological_seminaryThe Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago is a 150-year-old institution that recently received a new space on the University of Chicago campus. Affiliated with the United Church of Christ and proud of its progressive education, future religious leaders learn in an 80,000-squarefoot space designed by Nagle Hartay Architecture, Chicago.

The Nagle Hartray design team, led by Dirk Danker, design partner, emphasized asymmetry with balance as a key formal strategy in developing the massing of the modern structure. Other design goals included imparting an informality of character on the building, encouraging engagement with both the campus and immediate neighborhood through the use of transparency and multiple entries on both campus and neighborhood sides of the building and finally, creating a unique, distinctive architectural personality. Holland, Mich.-based Dri-Design provided 11,000 square feet of its 0.080-inch aluminum panels finished in Harvest Gold and Cashmere Pearl. The panels were used in horizontal and vertical applications to meet design objectives. The panels on the upper level were installed vertically, while on the lower level, horizontally installed panels utilize three different panel heights and integrate with masonry.

“The building’s mass consists of three key elements: a vertical, steelframe ‘tower’ form at the northeast corner; the horizontal metal panel ‘bar’ form that wraps the west side on the second and third floors; and the cylindrical metal and glass drum on the top floor,” says Scott Cryer, project architect.

The Dri-Design panels clad both the horizontal bar element and the cylindrical drum and were installed in a staggered bond pattern in both locations. “The coursing of the metal panels and the brick is a designed random pattern,” Cryer says. “Additionally, the mullion pattern of the curtainwalls and the spacing of the punched openings are all similarly random. This designed randomness at a more detailed scale helps to support the asymmetry and balance which is occurring at a more global scale, while also creating a sense of quirkiness, imparting the distinctive personality of the institution within.”

According to Brendan Nolan, project manager with panel installer, Tuschall Engineering, Burr Ridge, Ill., the project initially started as a natural metals job, but to stay on budget, a painted finish was used to achieve the desired look.

Currently the seminary is seeking LEED Silver certification, and features an array of sustainable features, including a 4,000-square-foot vegetative roof.