Chicago, Illinois

University of Chicago
Saieh Hall for Economics

This four-building Saieh Hall complex establishes a new academic precinct for interdisciplinary economics research, teaching, conferences, and global outreach on the University of Chicago’s campus in the Hyde Park-Kenwood Historical District.

The project was completed in two phases and includes the adaptive re-use of a former seminary building as a modern academic setting, with the preservation and repurposing of its historically significant spaces providing unique academic teaching settings. Former dormitory rooms are converted to faculty offices and an underutilized attic is reclaimed as graduate student study space. New below-grade construction provides a 90-seat tiered lecture room integrated into site landscape above.

A new pavilion building provides flexible teaching and research space, connected to the seminary building and to two renovated historic houses. Integrated into a reclaimed back lot, the existing and new buildings permit an expansion that respects the scale of the adjacent neighborhood. The conversion of a city street to a pedestrian walkway along the south side of the building complex knits the Saieh Hall complex into the campus fabric.

University of Chicago
Completed 2015, LEED Gold (Phase 1) LEED Silver (Phase 2)
Project Size
Renovation | 89,500 GSF New Construction | 61,000 GSF
Classroom, Seminar, Conference, Faculty and Student Office, Student Commons, Café
AIA Illinois, Frank Lloyd Wright Award
BSA, Honor Award
SCUP, Excellence in Planning & Architecture
AIA New England, Design Award
Building Design+Construction, Platinum Reconstruction Award
The University of Chicago purchased the Chicago Theological Seminary’s main building in 2008, in part because of the building’s location. Our re-imagining of the Neo-Gothic complex creates a revitalized academic precinct at the heart of the Hyde Park historic campus.
“This adaptive reuse not only allowed us to breathe new life into a former seminary replete with architectural character and deferred maintenance. It also filled a gap in our core campus footprint, extending the function and feel of our main quadrangles. Ann and her team elevated the practice of repurposing an historic building, highlighting the best of the old while creatively inserting modern interventions.”
— Steve Wiesenthal FAIA
University Architect, University of Chicago

Our Process

Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Project Team
Ann Beha FAIA, Philip Chen AIA, Ed Rice AIA, Kathleen Gerner AIA, Joshua Lacasse AIA, Nealia Giarratani (ABA/Annum); Gensler (Associate Architect / FFE / LEED); dbHMS (MEP, FP); Thornton Tomasetti (Structural); Terra Engineering LTD (Civil); Harboe Architects (Envelope); Superior Engineering LLC (Steam); Building Conservation Associates (Materials Conservation); Schuler Shook (Lighting); Kirkegaard (Acoustics); Syska Hennessy (Elevator); SM&W (AV); OLIN Partnership (Landscape); Architect Consulting, Inc. (Specifications); Turner Construction (Construction Management); Leslie Schwartz (Photographer)