The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Plaza connects students and faculty directly to the heart of the Chicago’s waterfront park. Conceived as a large-scale gathering space for the SAIC community, the Plaza is the school’s unique, urban version of a college quad. Expanding social and pedagogical spaces from inside the Columbus Studios building outside, the Plaza accommodates co-curricular activities like outdoor classrooms, auditoria, performances, and highly visible public art installations and exhibition galleries. The Plaza can accommodate SAIC’s entire student body at once, and includes space for myriad events – from freshman orientation to fashion shows to senior graduations. Various ways of sitting on the plaza are possible, from ‘topo’ seats to grassy patches to bleachers; and, a variety of ways of displaying student and faculty work are possible, from mini-galleries to moveable platforms to flat surfaces with embedded infrastructure for temporary exhibitions.