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Northwestern University

Interior View

Kresge Hall

Kresge now opens directly onto the plaza adjoining University and Harris Halls. “Now it has a real front door facing the Rock,” architect Avi Lothan says.

Light-filled common areas. Colorful nooks that invite quiet study. Sunny classrooms enhanced with the latest in technology. Could this be the same Kresge Centennial Hall that opened in 1954 and retained much of its post-World War II ambience well into the 21st century. Indeed it is. Kresge — the nexus of the humanities at Northwestern — reopened in September 2016 after a two-year renovation that left virtually no element in the building untouched. The model for the redesign was the “small city”— an intuitively navigable community, with gathering spots designed to promote collaboration across disciplines. The renovated building is larger, with a new fifth floor and a reconstructed east wing that expanded Kresge’s square footage by 20 percent. And it is far more environmentally friendly. A host of improvements, such as a solar-panel roof and self-dimming classroom lights, put Kresge on a path to platinum-level LEED certification — the highest possible rating for environmentally responsible design.

“Virtually every undergraduate will take a class here at some point in their career at Northwestern,” says architect Avi Lothan. “It’s a very significant hub of activity, inquiry and collaboration.”

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