SAIC Fiber Department
UrbanLab re-envisioned the Department of Fiber and Materials Studies at the School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC) to reflect the vibrant and exciting department that it is. Designed to support SAIC’s students, the new modified open plan provides modern teaching spaces with state-of-the-art equipment and informal collaboration spaces as well as administrative offices. Through strategic thinking and a balanced approach to design performance, UrbanLab aligned SAIC’s goals with performance goals to achieve a two-story interconnected plan. A stair connecting the two floors acts as an amphitheater to promote ad-hoc gatherings, exhibitions and performances. Thickened, circuitous walls placed in the middle of each floor prompt serendipitous interactions, making the department a venue for synergy and innovation. Each thick, inhabitable wall reveals what SAIC wants to showcase, and encloses private or loud or extremely messy work in progress.