inside Keller Center
University of Chicago Keller Center / ChicagoIL

The Keller Center, the new home of the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, is an adaptive reuse of a 1962 landmark building designed by Edward Durell Stone. Having served many functions over its history, most recently as a residence hall, the 120,000 square foot building was largely gutted and rebuilt with offices, meeting rooms, lounges, and reception areas. Mortenson added a partial fourth floor with a green roof with a terrace, renovated the basement, and built a central four-story atrium called the Forum.

The Keller Center is the first LEED Platinum building on The University of Chicago campus and is among the first buildings in higher education to obtain the rigorous Petal Certification of the Living Building Challenge, an aggressive environmental initiative. The intent of the certification is to reduce or eliminate the use of worst-in-class materials and chemicals with the greatest impact on human and ecosystem health.

 Some green and sustainable features include:

  • 354 Solar panels, which provide 11 percent of the building's power
  • The web-printed exterior glass prevent birds from crashing
  • 15,000-Gallon cisterns that collect rainwater for toilet flushing
  • Multiple salvaged materials from the existing building (decorative pendants, salvaged limestone panels, existing doors) making it an adaptive reuse building

 Project photos courtesy of Jacob Hand and Scott Shigley.

Facts And Figures

University of Chicago

Completion Date: November 2018

Construction Cost: $60,000,000

Size: 120,000 square feet

Delivery Methods

CM at Risk

The Team


2020 Chicago Building Congress (CBC) Merit Award, Education Category

2020 AIA COTE Top Ten Award

2019 Living Building Challenge Certified; Materials, Equity, and Beauty

2019 ULI Chicago Vision Award, Excellence in Environmentally Sensitive Design & Community Engagement