While Douglas Hall looks much as it did when the campus opened in 1965, Grant Hall has changed dramatically, thanks in part to a generous gift from UIC benefactor Sid Port in memory of his daughter. Today, Grant Hall houses the Sandi Port Errant Language and Culture Learning Center, a state-of-the-art learning environment created by the Smithgroup. A remodel of Lincoln Hall will soon follow.

The new Grant Hall is a model of energy efficiency. Fourteen 500-feet deep geothermal wells located nearby help to heat and cool the building naturally, making this the first campus classroom building that maintains a comfortable temperature year-round. Given an opportunity to influence the redesign of Grant Hall, UIC faculty and students asked for improved heating and cooling. A grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation made this cost-efficient, environmentally friendly geothermal system possible.

More natural light was another suggestion from faculty and students. To achieve this, the new façade is composed mostly of energy efficient glass. Gone are the narrow recessed windows, Netsch’s solution for eliminating blinds or curtains in the building interior. Recognizing the importance of the building’s original modernist aesthetic, the Smithgroup matched the window rhythm to that of the adjoining buildings.

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