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Northern Illinois University Gabel Hall

Location
DeKalb, Illinois
Scope of Services
Architecture
Interior Design
Programming
Planning

Size:
23,000 Square Feet

Construction Type:
Academic, Renovation

LCM submitted a design concept for Northern Illinois University’s fundraising efforts to renovate a section of the Gabel Hall into new future-forward learning spaces. The project scope involves repurposing a large swimming pool, among other areas, into open-concept, flexible, and technologically advanced learning spaces.

The programming includes a large community learning and active learning zone accommodating 160 people with a moveable partition to separate the space. Clustered seating and multiple monitors will facilitate both presentation and interactive sessions. Smaller rooms accommodating 40 people each will have flexible seating arrangements and learning equipment to convert them as needed into classrooms, activity, or community rooms. Enclaves are provided for focused work seating up to 6, and conference rooms seat 20. Breakout/transition spaces provide serendipitous opportunities to engage and connect informally. Multi-colored glass partitions in the central hallway create a vibrant ambience and carve out several lounging areas. The overall programming flexibility and hi-tech learning equipment allows the building to adapt to future needs.

The original 1960s facade will be preserved and reinforced with minor repairs that were noted during the field investigation. Based on the building’s placement on-site, the University felt a need for a more prominent entrance on the north side. The master plan proposes a landscaped exterior terrace at the Graham Hall and Gabel Hall intersection. This welcoming gathering space will organically lead into the new accessible building entrance. The design aims to nurture future teachers and professionals with an innovative work setting like the ones they will experience in the world upon graduation. 

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