Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

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Media Contact:
Ted Strand, AIA
Solomon Cordwell Buenz

John McGovern
Resolute Consulting

Solomon Cordwell Buenz Receives International LEAF Award for Best Use of Technology in Loyola Information Commons Design

LONDON, UK – Solomon Cordwell Buenz (“SCB”), a leading U.S. design and architecture firm, received the international LEAF Award for Best Use of Technology tonight during a gala celebration in London. The award honors SCB’s design for the Information Commons, a digital research library opening next month at Loyola University Chicago that incorporates pioneering technology to protect the environment and reduce energy use.

SCB Chairman John Lahey, AIA, and SCB Principal Devon Patterson, AIA, were both on hand to personally accept the award at the Waldorf Hilton. The LEAF Awards, presented annually, recognize “companies, technologies and individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to the world of architecture, and who continue to set the benchmark for the buildings of tomorrow.”

“We’re honored to receive this prestigious international award,” said Lahey. “The Information Commons at Loyola University Chicago is an unique building, not only because it represents one of the world’s first fully-digital libraries, but also because it includes a number of environmentally-friendly systems and strategies to conserve energy and maximize the use of recycled materials.”

Upon its completion, the Information Commons will receive LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Council on Green Buildings. In recognizing the work of SCB, the original LEAF Award nomination cited the building’s many sophisticated technologies that will help reduce energy consumption by approximately 50 percent:

– Two double-skin glass facades that manage ventilation and the flow of heat and cold in and out of the building.

– Mechanical blinds within the glass facades that adjust according to outdoor weather sensors which monitor climate changes.

– Radiant concrete slab ceilings that provide thermal mass to cool the building in the summer and heat it in the winter.

– The use of heated and chilled water delivered from existing campus facilities to regulated temperature instead of forced-air systems.

– A green roof that collects rainwater and mitigates run-off to Lake Michigan.

The Information Commons also incorporates carpet tiles fashioned from recycled materials, and formaldehyde-free products were used during construction to ensure that air quality remains clean and breathable once the building is occupied.

In addition, LEAF nominators complimented SCB for the “dynamic” nature of the Information Commons design, including the architects’ use of transparent glass and the building’s relation to its site along Lake Michigan that takes advantage of stunning view and creates a new quadrangle to compliment the surrounding Loyola University Chicago campus.

“The Information Commons is a testament to ingenuity, a pact with future generations to be wise about our resources, and a campus centerpiece for which the entire Loyola community can be proud,” said Loyola University Chicago President Michael Garanzini, S.J.

Lahey added, “The success of the Information Commons illustrates the potential for architects and designers to create green buildings that respect our environment, while still meeting the needs of clients, advancing aesthetics, and pursuing an artistic vision.”




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