The Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society, born of a $26.5 million gift, has already allocated funding for new (neu!) collaborative projects, seed projects, and visiting fellows. The Collegium’s future home is the former Meadville Lombard Theological School at 5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue. The Gothic-ish structure was built in 1933 (apparently designed by Denison Hull) and is 16,000 sqft. The masculine, aggressively proportioned building has very elegant windows, and the building’s interior details are even handsomer. The University bought it in January 2011. A month later, they bought the two houses owned by Meadville below the main building on the East side of S. Woodlawn Avenue. Those houses are 5707 S. Woodlawn Ave, now the Institute of Politics, and 5711 S. Woodlawn Ave, the Paulson Institute headed by Hank Paulson. While these two converted houses have been renovated, the Neubauer Collegium building has not yet. Kliment Halsband Architects were selected to renovate the building, which needs modern facilities and will also be made more sustainable (possibly to meet a certain LEED certification like much of recent campus construction). The estimated completion date is Summer 2014.
In case anyone is curious, the Meadville School is operating out of the stunning angled glass Spertus Institute building (Krueck & Sexton Architects, 2007) on Michigan Avenue in the South Loop. The school is affiliated with Unitarian Universalism, so they see no problem sharing space with Spertus, a Jewish learning center. It’s unclear whether this set up is permanent. There are renderings on Johnson & Lee Architects’ website showing a new facility in the Woodlawn neighborhood (which would seem to imply that the University of Chicago has a hand in finding and funding a new home for the theological school.) But the Woodlawn renderings look old and nothing has happened recently that would indicate the plan is moving forward. [Edit: that link is now broken. These other renderings on a different firm’s site might be the same, but they might not.]