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U. of C. To Demolish Mott Building To Make Way For Star Architects' Project

By Sam Cholke | March 31, 2016 6:08am
 U. of C. said it will start demolition on the Mott building this week.
U. of C. said it will start demolition on the Mott building this week.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago will start demolishing the Charles Stewart Mott building this week to make way for a new academic conference center.

Neighbors were sent notices Wednesday that demolition could start as early as that day on the building at 1225 E. 60th St. and was expected to finish by May.

The Mott building will make way for the Rubenstein Forum, an academic conference center on campus designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the architecture firm behind the High Line in New York City and that is also in the running to design Barack Obama’s presidential library.

The architects have not yet released renderings of what they have planned for the site, which is also expected to include an empty lot on the southeast corner of Woodlawn Avenue and 60th Street.

Calmetta Coleman, a spokeswoman for the university, declined to answer questions about the Mott building, but said the university would have a status update on Mott and the new forum building in the next month.

The building was most recently used as administrative offices, until it was cleared in February to remove asbestos before demolition could start. The structure was originally built as the university’s industrial relations center and was to be the first of eight buildings in a management center that was never built.

Though designed in 1959 by Schmidt, Garden and Erickson, the firm that designed much of the university’s hospital buildings, the building was never shown much love by the architecture community, seen as a meek attempt at the modernism Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was pioneering.

The architects’ work has also proved the most disposable on campus, with their work being demolished for buildings like the Eckhardt Research Center or almost entirely obscured as the medical campus has grown.

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