University Hall Facade Restoration


Harsh Chicago winters and time have taken their toll on University Hall, the main administrative building at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Designed by legendary architect Walter Netsch in the Brutalist style, the 28-story tower was constructed in 1963 using an exposed cast-in-place concrete structural frame with precast concrete window panel infill. An unusual feature of its design is that, instead of setbacks, it actually widens in two stages, so that it is twenty feet wider at the top floor than at its base.

UIC retained RATIO Architects (RATIO) and CTLGroup for structural engineering services and materials consulting for the design development, construction documents, bidding, and construction phases of the repair and restoration of the exterior façade.  

In 2014, RATIO and CTLGroup conducted a condition assessment of the building, performed materials testing and analysis, and developed conceptual repair designs. A conceptualization report of the repair work and cost estimates was presented to UIC.

Subsequently, UIC approved the scope of repairs, which included repairing areas of damage, stabilizing the building exterior to mitigate future deterioration, and restoring the exterior appearance of the building.

A façade repair program will include concrete patch repairs, re-alkalization treatment of the surface concrete, cleaning of façade surfaces to remove dirt/stains, visible concrete surfaces, and application of a clear penetrating silence sealer.  New gallery roof systems will be implemented over the course of the repairs, as well as windows and precast concrete panels. A permanent canopy will be added to the building perimeter.