The University of Chicago
Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society
Berglund renovated the historic 1930s structure, including the concrete, steel and masonry. An extensive interior build-out boasts modern office spaces and interactive spaces for lectures.
  • Project Type
    • Building
  • Status
  • Delivery Method
    • Lump Sum
  • Services
  • Location
    • Chicago, IL
  • Duration
    • 9 Months
  • Size
    • 16,000 sqft
  • Architect
    • Kliment Halsband

Project Overview

The project was the renovation of the 1930 concrete, steel and masonry Meadville Lombard Theological School and Library into the Neubauer Family Collegium. The renovation was the push from the university to focus on collaborative interaction, including offices for scholars and administrative support, interactive spaces for lectures, workshops, seminars and informal meetings and program support spaces.


The existing building is approximately 16,000 sqft, comprised of three above-grade floors, a basement and a partial attic. One existing entrance was rebuilt at sidewalk elevation to accommodate a new ADA-accessible entry sequence. Existing window openings were enlarged to provide second means of egress from two large first floor rooms. A new elevator was installed, the existing attic and a portion of the existing roof was demolished, and a new fourth floor was constructed.

The adaptive reuse preserved many of the historic elements of the building, including the limestone façade, floor-to-ceiling wood paneling staircases, and vintage light fixtures and fireplaces. In addition to the interior renovations, the west side of the building now features French doors opening onto a new outdoor terrace facing Woodlawn Avenue.

The multiple storied renovation included clay tile repair, ornate wood paneling restoration and exterior envelope restoration. The extensive interior build-out of office spaces boasted modern finishings with large glass walls.

From its founding, the Neubauer Collegium has supported research that cuts across dis­ci­pli­nary bound­aries and brings scholars together from around the world in search of new approach­es to questions in the human­i­ties and social sciences. Now, we have a building that facil­i­tates the ambitious research of our faculty and visiting fellows by allowing them to work and think together in a shared space.”

Jonathan Lear

Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium


The Neubauer Collegium supports innovative and collaborative research projects led by UChicago faculty, hosts visiting fellows from around the world and pioneers efforts to engage a wider public in humanistic scholarship. The Neubauer Collegium has supported 42 faculty research projects led by more than 100 UChicago faculty fellows since its founding in 2012.

Photos by Tom Rossiter