David Rubenstein Forum

The David Rubenstein Forum at the University of Chicago is a new center for intellectual exchange, scholarly collaboration and special events. The 97,000-sf facility consists of a 2-story podium and a 10-story tower of stacked “neighborhoods” with a zinc-and-glass exterior. A 285-seat auditorium sits above the podium, and a large multipurpose space on the 2nd Floor, called the University Room, can accommodate groups of up to 600 people. The podium also contains a wine bar and café and a dining room. The top of the tower features a flat-floor multipurpose space that can accommodate over 100 people, and offers stunning views of the campus, the Midway Plaisance, the city skyline and Lake Michigan.


At 166 ft tall, the Forum rises over 100 ft above the surrounding tree line, striking a dynamic form that symbolically ties together the history of Chicago’s Midway Plaisance, the University’s heritage and ambitions and the architectural legacy of the area. Conceived as a scholarly retreat, the design promotes openness and diverse interactions, from the mixed program at the base and to the serene City View Room on the 10th Floor.


The stacked neighborhoods of the tower are staggered to varying degrees, posing a complex structural challenge, with cantilevers up to 40 ft. The structural system is composed of a series of simple individual structural elements that are stacked in a harmonious form to efficiently create the desired open spaces. Incorporating post-tensioned concrete into the structural design proved crucial to achieving the long spans, cantilevers and column-free spaces that the architectural team envisioned.


Chicago, IL



University of Chicago



Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Design Architect

Brininstool + Lynch (Associate Architect)


Winner – New Building (Under 100,000 sf), 2022

Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards (EiSE)

Platinum Award – Structural Systems, 2022
American Council of Engineering Companies New York (ACEC NY)

Engineering Excellence Awards

Winner – Best Tall Building Under 100 meters, 2022

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards

Project of the Year, Specialty Contractor Category, 2022
Chicagoland Associated General Contractors (CAGC)

Project of the Year Awards

Award of Excellence – Buildings Category, 2021

Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) Awards

Outstanding Finalist, 2021

National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA)

Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards

Finalist – New Building, 2021
Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY)

Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards

Winner – Mid-Rise Category, 2021

American Concrete Institute (ACI) Illinois Chapter Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards

Sustainable Design Award, 2021

Metal Architecture (MA) Awards


Winner – Higher Education Category, 2021

Interior Design Best of Year Awards


Brett Beyer