IIT architecture

Watch Out…the “L” Train is Coming

IIT architectureSometimes we try to figure out how some architects dream up solutions to problem. Like this one. A college in Chicago, called IIT, Illinois Institute of Technology, hired an architect to design a new building. This building would house the student activity center, where college students might eat something and hang out. No problem, right?

Well, one big problem.

The “L” Train travels at the same spot that the building had to be built. A problem indeed. The “L” is elevated above the ground and swiftly travels all over the city of Chicago. It is noisy, clunky and not very friendly to a building in it’s way. AHA! This architect’s solution to the problem was to create a giant tube, and put it through the new building, like a straw through a milkshake, only horizontally.

The tube is steel and concrete. It was built so that the loud screeching sounds of the train are barely heard inside the building. And it is pretty impressive to look at. The architect is Rem Koolhaas, an architect from the Netherlands, who is known for some radical and unique solutions to architectural conundrums (which are problems that are difficult to solve.)

Go to his firm’s web site to see some of the other work that they do all over the planet.

And try to visit IIT and see the building in person. It is so very interesting in so many ways. There are also a number of other interesting buildings on campus, by famous architects like Mies van der Rohe and Helmut Jahn.