The “Heart and Soul” of SAIC
On May 13 the Architect’s Newspaper article “Art School Confidential” showcased the design of SAIC’s “central gathering place,” the LeRoy Neiman Center. Designed by local Chicago firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDT) and opened in May of 2012, the center now serves as “the heart and soul” of SAIC’s academic community. “If you had an hour between classes prior to this, you’d have to find a café and camp out over a cup of coffee,” says VDT principal Mark Dewalt. “Now you can open your laptop, meet your friends, talk to your professors.” Writer Madeline Nusser highlights the LeRoy Neiman Center’s cafeteria, flexible performance space, easily accessible administrative offices and meeting spaces, “dramatic, sculptural staircase,” and street-visible student gallery. The space is “simple, sophisticated, just edgy enough to be appropriate for an art school, but not too overpowering for performances and exhibits,” describes Dewalt.