Santa Clara Hall

Santa Clara Hall is a student residence located on the lakefront campus of Loyola University in Chicago. I led a gut-rehab of this structure, transforming a 1920’s apartment building into a state of the art residence hall.

SC exterior

The building was originally constructed as studio and one-bedroom apartments. Its  location is unique – it is directly on Lake Michigan, with Loyola to the south and a beach to the north. However desirable this may seem, the building was in run-down condition and did not conform to today’s standards for student residences.  Everything inside the building, aside from the structure, was removed. New two-bedroom units were planned, and new elevator and egress stairs were threaded through the existing structure.

SC floor plan

While the units are minimally sized, they provide ADA accessible kitchens and bathrooms, and flexible shared living spaces. One of the big challenges of fitting this tight layout into the 1920’s shell is that the structure was very irregular, and varied from floor to floor. Fortunately, Loyola hired a great general contractor with whom I worked closely to adapt the layouts, especially in the bathrooms, as the existing conditions emerged through demolition.

Image 2.BZ

The ground floor presented another challenge. In the original structure, it was treated as a service floor that had low ceilings. Loyola wanted to use this floor as public space for the residence, with lobby, lounge, conference and laundry room functions.

Image 3.BZ

The ceiling height was maintained by carefully coordinating the existing structure with new mechanical, electrical and fire protection elements during design and in construction.

Santa Clara Hall opened on time and on budget, and has since become very popular with the students.

This project was completed while I was an employee at Solomon Cordwell Buenz. I managed design development and construction documents, and performed construction administration services.

Bill Zbaren created the interior photographs, and I made the exterior picture. The rendered floor plan was made by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.