RENDERINGS COURTESY OF LEGAT ARCHITECTS
Located in the heart of one of the world’s great cities, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the region. As Chicago’s only public research university with 28,000 students, 15 colleges, a hospital and a health sciences system, UIC provides its students with access to excellence and opportunity.
Integrated into a redesign undertaken earlier this year, a bright red “portal” just inside the UIC Bookstore now catches the eyes of passersby along Halsted Street. That portal leads to the revived UIC Bookstore where tablets, laptops and phone accessories gleam beside textbooks, stationery and UIC-branded clothing. Construction on the 3,000-square-foot renovation transformed the old bookstore into a vibrant new space. The facelift, designed by Legat Architects, brings to center stage the devices and digital media that have become an indelible part of students’ lives.
Vuk Vujovic, Legat Architects’ project manager, says, “The goal was to create a bright, modern, streamlined environment reflective of the technology-infused aesthetics that you’d find in a high-end retail environment.”
A low glass railing defines the space, while creating a subtle partition within the otherwise open store. High-end technology products, previously restricted to a couple tables pushed against a wall, have been moved front and center with display cases, power tables and accessory kiosks.
Grays and whites dominate the color scheme, while red accents appear in the portal and furnishings. Luxury vinyl tile flooring resembling concrete replaces tired carpet, and more efficient lighting brightens to space.
Flat screens cover the back technology wall. This collaboration zone offers tables and seats, as well as a red soft seating furniture element with countertops built into its back. Here, students and faculty can project their devices onto the wall, or UIC staff can use the area for training sessions.
Completed in September, the UIC bookstore redesign is open for business on the university’s busy campus.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of College Planning & Management.