University of Chicago, Crerar Computing Center & Cyber Cafe

Chicago, Illinois

  • FIRM

    VMC Architects, Inc.


    University of Chicago

  • AREA

    5,500 sq.ft.





Challenged by an increase in student computing needs, the University of Chicago and the architect took this opportunity to analyze alternatives to the typical classroom-style format of traditional computer labs.

The major design concept was the flexibility of configuration of working spaces. Taking cues from the university’s philosophy of learning through research, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$345.45FEATURED IN2001 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers and intellectual discussion, the floor plan and furniture selections were designed to emphasize the interaction of students and faculty in small and large groups.

The lower-level location of the computing center in the John C. Crerar Library made the primary site challenges the lack of available natural light and restricted ceiling heights. An open, light atmosphere was achieved by using glass partitions and clerestories throughout the design.

The resulting computing center combines collaborative computing spaces, a multimedia lab, general computer cluster, advanced graphics classroom and a cyber cafe. Numerous universities and Fortune 500 companies have visited the facility and intend to emulate the lab on their respective campuses.