The Academic and Residential Complex
WINNER: Best Student Housing Rental Apartment Community (Tie)
Nominated by: American Campus Communities
Location: Chicago, Ill.
Developer: American Campus Communities
Architect: Solomon Cordwell Buenz
General Contractor: Pepper Construction
Interior Designer: Sixthriver Architects
Photographer: Hall+Merrick Photographers, Dave Burk Photography
Project Website: The Academic and Residential Complex
In fall 2019, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and American Campus Communities (ACC) delivered the Academic and Residential Complex (ARC) — a modern, live-learn student community serving more than 550 students on the university campus. The complex comprises a 54,000-square-foot, two-story academic building as well as a 146,000-square-foot, 10-story residence hall. UIC is one of the top universities in the nation and is the fastest-growing public university in Illinois during the last decade. As the university experienced record enrollment growth, university leadership in 2014 performed an assessment of its current housing stock in order to evaluate the state of its housing offerings, understand student demand and develop recommendations for improvement. Upon completion of its assessment, UIC concluded that the primary housing offerings for first-year students were not meeting resident expectations as far as unit layouts, community spaces and physical condition. A master plan was developed to revitalize the on-campus student experience by consolidating and replacing existing accommodations with modern, purpose built-student housing. In spring 2017, UIC engaged ACC to deliver the ARC, which represents the first phase of the university’s revitalization initiative. Developed as a public-private partnership among UIC and ACC, the ARC was delivered in fall 2019 after a 20-month construction process. The ARC is home to more than 550 UIC students and provides a purpose-built, academically oriented student living environment and classrooms in the heart of campus.