University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Unlike many high-rise buildings with typical floor plans, some buildings are unique. Such is the case with the new University of Chicago Booth School of Business Hyde Park Center. Located on the university’s Hyde Park campus across the street from both Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Robie House and the renowned Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Raphael Vinoly Architects executed a world class graduate business school facility — “a modern marvel that reflects the university’s signature Gothic style in glass, steel, and limestone”. Not typical in any way, each floor in the facility is different. Set-backs, cantilevers and an atrium winter garden add to the visual texture and presence of the building.

For emergency evacuation planning purposes the uniqueness of each floor presented challenges. How to communicate to occupants (students, faculty, staff and visitors) who may be on several different floors in a given day or visit, the required orientation and evacuation routing for the floor they are on at the time of an incident? In addition to the evacuation route plans posted in each elevator lobby of each floor, JBCC developed a booklet for distribution to all occupants and visitors containing both emergency response evacuation procedures and floor plans for each of the floors providing orientation layout (where you are when not in an elevator lobby where signs are posted) and evacuation routes. Moreover, all requirements (detailed drawings, building census data, and facility specific information/detail) per code were developed and submitted to the city of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Engaged by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Chicago Booth) to develop plans required by Chapter 13-78 of City of Chicago Municipal Code for “High-Rise Buildings—Emergency Procedure”, JBCC sought involvement from the university’s Safety & Environmental Affairs and Facilities Offices to ensure the plan being developed for the Chicago Booth was in sync with the university’s overall campus emergency plan while providing compliance with the city’s code requirements.

JBCC worked in collaboration with the Chicago Booth’s Director of Facilities, the university’s Director of Safety & Environmental Affairs, the Senior Project Manager and Director of Space Management for university Facilities to prepare the Emergency Evacuation Information and Procedures plans.

A result of JBCC’s creation of the plan for Chicago Booth was the adoption of this plan as the standard and template for application in developing high-rise evacuations plans for all university campus high-rise buildings.