The Keller Center's sustainable design underscores Harris' commitment to positive social impact.

The Keller Center is setting the standard for sustainable design on UChicago campus and among policy schools around the globe, reflecting Harris’ commitment to policy impact and civic engagement while accommodating the School's substantial growth. 

The building achieved and Petal certification for Materials, Beauty, and Equity, making the Keller Center one of the most sustainable buildings in higher education and the city of Chicago.

Sustainable Design Elements 

Restoring and reimagining the four-story, 20th-century masterpiece designed by Edward Durell Stone, the Keller Center incorporates several world-class sustainable design practices: 

Ethical Redevelopment & Reclaimed Materials

Harris Family Foundation King Harris Forum Interior
Harris Family Foundation King Harris Forum (Photo credit: John R. Boehm)

The focal point of the Keller Center is the Harris Family Foundation King Harris Forum, a sun-soaked, four-level atrium that reaches the full height of the building.

体育盘口_足球比分网Clad in beautiful, locally-sourced ash wood, the Forum represents a key policy story of Harris Public Policy at the Keller Center.

体育盘口_足球比分网The ash trees in the Forum come from trees in Chicago’s south and west side parks. The trees, infested by the emerald ash borer beetle, were a hazard and as a result had to be felled. Artist and leader in ethical redevelopment Theaster Gates, Senior Adviser for Cultural Innovation and Adviser to the Dean of Harris, reclaimed the wood for use in art and building fabrication projects. Through his Dorchester Industries Mill on the South Side of Chicago, local residents milled the wood, which appears in the Forum and throughout the Keller Center.

The Keller Center uses other reclaimed materials throughout the building, including toilet stall doors and light fixtures from the original structure.

Rainwater Capture

Rainwater Capture Infographic
Rainwater Capture (artist's rendering)

The Keller Center's design incorporates rainwater capture, which reuses available resources to work key infrastructure in the building, and also mitigates impact on Chicago's stormwater systems.

The rainwater cistern captures rainwater and uses it to flush the building’s toilets, diverting rainwater from Chicago’s overburdened sewer system. It also provides more usable space for the rooftop solar panels.

体育盘口_足球比分网The rainwater cistern tank holds 15,000 gallons of water and diverts 525,208 gallons annually from the Chicago's sewer system. That's enough water to completely fill the four-story volume of the Keller Center’s atrium.

Solar Energy Capture

Solar Energy Capture
Solar Energy Capture (artist's rendering)

The Keller Center’s solar energy system produces up to 152,055 kWh of carbon-free electricity each year. This is enough energy to power 11% of the building’s annual energy use, or about 15 average homes annually.





Active Design & Universal Design

Keller Center monumental stair
The Keller Center's monumental stair

体育盘口_足球比分网The Keller Center’s monumental stair connects all levels of the building. This strategy is essential to , which create opportunities for daily physical activity. 

In addition, the Keller Center incorporates principles throughout, which work to enable and empower diverse populations by creating access for people with diverse abilities.


Bird-friendly Glass

Bird-friendly glass
Bird-friendly Glass (artist's rendering)

All new windows on the perimeter of the Keller Center incorporate a special UV reflective coating that makes the building more bird-friendly. The coating incorporates a spiderweb design that birds innately avoid, reducing collisions with the windows. This is an example of biomimicry—the emulation of nature’s patterns and systems—in green building design.


Circadian Lighting

Circadian lighting
Circadian Lighting (artist's rendering)

体育盘口_足球比分网To support user comfort in the Keller Center, lighting in the building emulates the full spectrum of light that the sun emits throughout the day. Artificial lighting that mimics the sun’s color temperature helps regulate our circadian rhythm (our internal clock), which controls many of our physical, mental, and behavioral states.



  • American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago):
  • American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago):
  • American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago): (Monumental Stair)
  • Urban Land Institute: — Excellence in Environmentally Sensitive Design and Community Engagement
  • The Architect's Newspaper (AN) 2019 Best of Design Awards:
  • Building Design + Construction (BD+C)


Harris Public Policy assembled a team of world-class designers to oversee the transformation of the Stone building. Chicago-based , the architect of record, worked with a team of consultants to devise architectural and interior design plans for the Keller Center. Farr Associates is recognized nationally for their emphasis on sustainability and collaborative approach to design.

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