Two years after the Loyola community bid farewell to the gray cement pillars of Damen Hall, the newest addition to Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus Cuneo Hall opened its doors. This new building demonstrates a continual movement toward environmental sustainability on Loyola’s campus.

“Cuneo Hall is a major milestone in realizing the original plan for Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. Along with Cudahy Science and our first campus building, Dumbach Hall, the new Cuneo Hall completes the initial vision for this space that was anticipated when Loyola originally acquired the property in 1906,” says Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., Loyola’s president and CEO.

Cuneo, unlike Damen, matches the brick and tile aesthetic of neighboring academic buildings Cudahy and Dumbach Halls, and boasts an energy-conscious design that makes it one of the most innovative buildings in the midwest. The architectural firm, Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), a leader in sustainable design, implemented several key green features as part of the design.  This includes a high performance exterior enclosure, in-slab radiant heating and cooling, operable windows that allow reduced fan operation and natural ventilation mode,  low velocity displacement ventilation, and an atrium that passively induces natural stack-effect ventilation. A Building Automation System notifies occupants when outdoor conditions are favorable to allowing fresh air inside, then that air is naturally ventilated through the four-story atrium. This method allows for decreased mechanization, and encourages participation in environmentally friendly practices. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification is pending for the project and is anticipated at the end of the summer.

“SCB shares Loyola University Chicago’s deep commitment to sustainability. We wanted to create a space that was the first of its kind on the campus and put a mark on our long, productive, professional relationship with Loyola,” says John Lahey, SCB’s chairman. “We welcome projects such as Cuneo Hall that challenge our creativity to combine traditional with progressive elements.”

Cuneo’s environmental innovation doesn’t stand alone on Loyola’s campus, however. Championed by Father Garanzini and named for Loyola’s most generous benefactors, John and Herta Cuneo, the building is part of a larger effort to create a more sustainable campus. In addition to continuing curriculum and programs centered around food, water, and ecology, last year Loyola earned a respectable grade of A- in the College Sustainability Report Card, issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. This mark put Loyola among a select few universities in the country, and the only college in Chicago to attain this level.

The building is home to Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning, Center for the Human Rights of Children, Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy, Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, and a number of classrooms.