Loyola University Chicago: Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons

Chicago, IL

Close Up

  • Owner/Developer

    Loyola University

  • Architect

    Solomon Cordwell Buenz

  • Engineer

    Halvorson and Partners

  • Façade Consultant

    Curtainwall Design Consulting

  • GC

    Pepper Construction

  • Completion


  • Building Type


  • LEED Rating

    Silver certified

  • Façade Area

    Custom design/build facade package including a point-fixed VS-1 system on east elevation, active double skin on west elevation with cable net glass facade as outer skin and VS-1 system as inner skin

  • Glass

    Monolithic and insulated glass; by Viracon





  • Leaf Award: Best Use of Technology, Fourth Annual Leading European Architects Forum in London, England, 2007


Located on Loyola University’s Lake Shore Campus, this 4-story, 72,000 square foot Information Commons was awarded the 2007 Leaf Award for Best Use of Technology at the Fourth Annual Leading European Architects Forum in London, England. The building is LEED Silver certified, largely from its advanced facade systems that create an environment maximizing comfort while reducing energy consumption. The project is designed to use approximately 50 percent less energy than code-compliant buildings.

The commons is essentially a 4-story box incorporating limestone elevations to the south and north, with transparent full-elevation facades to the east and west. Under normal conditions one can stand to the west of the building and see through the library with an unobstructed view of the lake.

A key component of the green design is the advanced facade technology used to achieve the east and west glass walls. The west face uses a double skin facade to manage heat flow and natural ventilation through the year. This is one of the few examples of this technology in the United States. The facade features two layers of glass separated by an air space roughly three feet between the inner and outer layer. Air circulates in the cavities between the facades, while 4 inch horizontal blinds inside the outer glass layer track the sun’s movement throughout the day. These blinds reflect away the heat of excess radiant energy when closed, while allowing natural daylight into the building when opened. Transsolar was brought on as a climate consultant to oversee the project.

The outer layer of the double skin is a cable net glass wall. The inner layer of the dual-skin is a point-fixed system that uses cast fixings to clamp insulated glass panels to vertical extrusions. The double skin provides a sealed cavity between the two layers that is used as an acoustic and thermal buffer between inside and out, and as a source of ventilated air under controlled conditions.

Enclos is aggressively pursuing a mission of improving the energy efficiency of the building skin with a robust research and development program, and is constantly looking for opportunities to exercise its advanced technologies as it did on the Loyola Information Commons.