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IIT College of Architecture


    The College of Architecture is housed in three buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe. With more than 105,000 square feet dedicated exclusively for the College, and seminar and class rooms utilizing many IIT campus facilities, students have some of the finest instructional spaces in the United States.

    S. R. Crown Hall

    photo of long, low building with glass walls
    Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1956)
    National Historic Landmark; Chicago Landmark

    The historic S. R. Crown Hall, an icon of twentieth century Modernism, continues to function as it did when built in 1956, as “the world’s best one-room schoolhouse” (Dean Robertson). It is probably the best environment for architectural education of virtually any in the world. Its upper floor, set 4 feet off the ground, is a large 35,500 square foot, clear span space with terrazzo flooring throughout. Few partitions interrupt the continuous flow of space. This studio space is a testimony to the virtues of minimalism: a floor, some storage lockers and a sea of desks make the learning environment that is inspiring, if not a little awesome.

    Each of the approximately 400 students who have a studio class in upper Crown Hall has a desk surface comfortably accommodated: the desks are a table top on a steel frame, and students share fixed storage lockers for their drafting materials. The building fosters rigor and a precision of work habits in dealing with the Miesian ethic of the place. Desks are placed throughout the space, with the center space (“Center Core”) inside the wood paneled partitions being used for pin-ups, group meetings, reviews, didactic installations (e.g., mocked up floor plans of precedents), lectures and large get-togethers.

    Downstairs, the square footage is divided between classrooms, studio space, the Graham Resource Center architecture library, the photo lab, the computer lab, storage rooms, etc. There are also two large studio spaces for another 150 students and rooms for faculty offices, counseling and administrative functions.

    Crown Hall underwent an award winning historic restoration of the exterior facades in 2005. The entry doors have been equipped with a sensor system to comply with all life safety and universal access requirements.  The restrooms have been upgraded to conform to ADA requirements, and mechanical lifts have been provided to access the building and communicate between floors.

    3410 South State

    photo of two-story brick building with center glass entryway
    Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1945 to 1953, construction date unknown)

    The College of Architecture occupies 24,000 square feet on three levels in this concrete-frame building, which for many years served as a background building for IIT. The building contains the College’s advanced studios, masters’ program studio, and PhD program student digital workstations and offices. The building also features a multimedia computer room with state-of-the-art support. The basement level serves as our archival space, general storage, and student project space.

    3410 South State also houses the headquarters of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), an international organization and leading body in the field of tall buildings.

    Minerals and Metals Building (M&M)

    photo of low-rise brick and glass building
    3350 S. Federal
    Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1939)

    For more than 60 years the M&M Building served as a background building for manufacturing, private industry, and for facility staging and storage. Mies’ first commission in the United States, the building features a main hall of 14,000 square feet that has 40 feet ceiling height and is equipped with 1 and 13 ton cranes. The building contains the College’s comprehensive materials lab, with tools and machinery for working with wood, metal and plastics as well as a large paint booth. The spacious facility allows for an opportunity to turn architectural models into full size mockups and facilitates the work of our Design/Build studios.

    The second level provides space for faculty offices and informal break-out spaces. The third level is utilized for faculty offices and student project storage.

    The College offers students and faculty robust electronic and computing resources in conjunction with IIT’s Office of Technology Services. There is wireless access (802.11b/g) in all College-controlled spaces.

    The COA continues to provide wired network connections when appropriate for student and faculty use. All faculty offices, studio spaces, the Library and COA computer labs are hard-wired. 

    In fall 2006, the College opened the second of two multimedia labs, each with 30+ computer stations. All of the labs' PCs include a variety of software products that support curricula aims of architecture faculty. The College employs a three-year refreshment program, meaning that every three years all Lab hardware is upgraded. Each building that the College inhabits contains output functionality including black and white and color printers and plotters for larger format documents.