Plans for the residence hall set to replace Pierce Tower are taking shape, as students work with administrators to select the architecture firm that will design the building.
According to first-year Ethan Stockwell, a member of the Pierce working group, administrators have narrowed the selection of architecture firms down to four, from the 24 that responded to the University’s call for design proposals.
“The four firms are all over the map. Some of them focus on modern architecture, and some on Gothic,” he said.
Second-year David Goldfeld, a member of the working group, said the decision will likely be based on the exterior layout. While Gothic may fit the traditional University of Chicago architecture, Stockwell said that, according to administrators, this style costs three times more than modern architecture.
The University aims to select the final design for the hall, currently called North Campus, by the end of June, with the possibility that a firm will be selected by finals week this quarter, according to first-year member Jonny Behrens.
Goldfeld said that once the University decides on the architect, it will finalize the interior layout of the building. They will consider suggestions made by students during focus groups held last spring and fall.
“The focus is on keeping the Pierce love of the house lounges and keeping this intact by having large, centralized house lounges, and making sure that [they are] an integral part of each house,” he said.
According to Goldfeld, the new dorm will house significantly more students than Pierce currently does by increasing the number of houses from four to eight, with 100 students in each. Currently, Pierce hosts 250 residents.
Administrators want upperclassmen to make up a significant portion of the students living in Campus North, hoping to attract them by adding apartment options, Stockwell said.
He said they also hope the new residence hall will serve as a “grand entrance” for the University.
“It will show to people coming from [the] north that the University is full of life...and offer upperclassmen a cool neighborhood to hang out in.”
As part of that grand entrance, the University is considering putting several shops in and around the Campus North area, according to Stockwell.
While no timetable has been released, the demolition of Pierce is set to begin in August.