Reach for the Green

In the Spring of 2013, my Architecture studio went on a field trip around Roosevelt University’s Vertical Campus downtown. We got to meet some people like, Assistant Chief Engineer Gus Kalady, who took us around the areas he oversees and highlighted key things about their building systems. The basic run down of this skyscraper fits on about a 17,000 square lot with the historic front facade preserved by the front entrance and the Auditorium Building by Architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Alder. The 32 story building houses the many amities of a “normal” college campus would need, except minimizing the footprint of the programs. In the image [1] it shows the program overlap inside the high-rise.


Some of the unique highlights of the building were the way finders, such as, color to organize the programs. The emergency stairs promote everyday use by making them visible and pronounced to the floors instead of hiding them behind solid metal doors [2], more high-end sustainable materials, green roofs, magnet powered elevators (thought these were cool), and most importantly the buildings way of handling waste. The university is really strong about minimizing waste and decreasing emissions from building systems. Some of the ways they promote their green motivation is with a tri-sorter chute garbage system to help recycle. Another way is with a food-waste pulper that is used in the dining area to create fertilizer that is sent to the Schaumburg, IL campus to be used for landscaping.


Roosevelt University has a diverse and educational push towards their facility, students, and expanding campus programs to be more mindful of their environment. They are practicing what they preach. Highlighting some of the key initiatives for a greener campus and program:

  • Almost 55% for the campus is Green Powered
  • Increase daylighting in classrooms, as you can see in image [3-4]
  • Higher demand of fresh air throughout the building, especially when students can spend up to 72+ hours in the building. On the Roosevelt University’s website under Building Initiative section states the building’s “heating and air conditioning systems perform 25% better than ASHRAE standards”
  • Occupancy sensors for lighting
  • Recycled construction materials
  • Water efficient plumping (aerators, low-flow pumping)



Image[5] One of the many views in your dorm.


Image(s) [1]

Image(s) [2-5] by author

Roosevelt University Vertical Campus

Roosevelt University Eyes the Future

University’s Website-Initiatives:


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