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Columbia College Chicago, Urban Campus Modernization

Chicago, Illinois

Columbia College’s campus is a unique blend of 23 industrial and mercantile buildings threaded together by surrounding city streets. All of Gensler’s more than 125 projects here have addressed the college’s goals to strengthen its physical connections with Chicago’s downtown and to create a greater sense of identity. Projects have involved strategic renovations of classrooms, workspaces and common areas using basic materials and effective details — such as assigning each building its own bold color to improve identity and wayfinding, recasting building corridors as gallery-like settings displaying student work, and adding playful lighting and furnishings to encourage gathering and interaction.