OMA and jacobs unveil new DPI headquarters in 'the 78,' chicago

OMA and jacobs unveil new DPI headquarters in 'the 78,' chicago

a new innovation hub for dpi


With architecture by OMA and Jacobs, a new DPI headquarters in ‘The 78’ will soon become home to a vibrant new innovation district along the Chicago River. The project will occupy a one-acre site southwest of the Loop, and will introduce over 200,000 square feet of workspaces, classrooms, labs, and event space for the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and its partners. The project marks a focus on expanding Illinois’ innovation economy by the state’s governor J.B. Pritzker and the DPI at University of Illinois.


This project will be funded with $500 million in capital funding by the State of Illinois. It will include the launch of DPI and the establishment of its Innovation Network at regional universities throughout the state.

OMA DPI chicago
DPI Headquarters, aerial view © OMA and Lucian R



chicago’s growing innovation district


The DPI headquarters, a world-class innovation hub by OMA (see here) and Jacobs (see here), will be sited within a disused railroad yard in the heart of Chicago. The project is expected to break ground in 2024, at which point it will become the first building to begin construction in The 78 Innovation District. It will mark the beginning of a transformation that will connect the South Loop and Chinatown, filling a 62-acre void that has long separated them.


With its multi-directional form, the building will not face any one specific direction. Thus, it will engage communities on all sides — toward the nearby riverfront, and toward the future phases of the larger Innovation District at The 78.

OMA DPI chicago
DPI Headquarters, 15th and S. Wells Street | © OMA and bloomimages



inside the project by oma and jacobs


The base of the eight-story building will be populated with space that will be shared with the public — a café, auditorium, and multipurpose exhibition space/classrooms. The building’s main entry will be located at 15th Street and Wells-Wentworth. A Richard Hunt sculpture will anchor the site landscape.

OMA Partner Shohei Shigematsu comments:DPI cultivates opportunities for research, learning, and innovation to diverse communities, requiring an architecture that adapts to continued growth of its programs. We wanted to provide a building that fosters interdisciplinary interaction and experimentation.


Programs are organized to maximize efficiency and potential to converge, and variegated layouts are configured around a central zone of collisions. A soft, transparent form and public ground floor offer an open invitation for the community to the building and its network.’

OMA DPI chicago
DPI Headquarters, Chicago riverfront view | © OMA and bloomimages OMA DPI chicago
DPI Headquarters, Chicago riverfront view | © OMA and bloomimages OMA DPI chicago
DPI Headquarters, central atrium © OMA and Lucian R


DPI Headquarters, main entry | © OMA and bloomimages

OMA and jacobs unveil new DPI headquarters in 'the 78,' chicago
DPI Headquarters, perimeter atrium © OMA and Lucian R


DPI Headquarters, event space | © OMA and bloomimages


DPI Headquarters, physical model © OMA
DPI Headquarters, physical model © OMA
DPI Headquarters, graphic section © OMA
DPI Headquarters, graphic section © OMA
DPI Headquarters, program axon © OMA
DPI Headquarters, program axon © OMA

project info:


project title: Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) Headquarters

lead design architect: OMA

prime, executive architect: Jacobs

location: ‘The 78’ Innovation District, Chicago, Illinois

client: University of Illinois School System, Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), Illinois Capital Development Board

developer: Related Midwest


partner-in-charge: Shohei Shigematsu
associates: Christy Cheng, Jake Forster
project architect: Caroline Corbett
team (concept to schematic design): Joanne Chen, Ben Van Schaayk, William Reive, Claudia Da Costa, Eugene Kim, Byron Heng Sheng Cai, Giuseppe Bandieramonte, Kellen Huang, Alexander Saffari, Blake Kem
competition team: Caroline Corbett, Joanne Chen, Claudia Da Costa, Jan Casimir, William Reive, Alireza Shojakhani, Yasamin Fathi, Patricio Fernandez, Alex Klufers, Izabela Irene Lotozo, Don Chen
lab planning consultant: Jacobs
innovation consultant: IDEO
structure: Stearn Joglekar and Thornton Tomasetti MEP/FP: Primera and Jacobs
facade: Thornton Tomasetti
landscape architect: Living Habitats
interior design and FFE: KOO
lighting: AKLD
AV/IT, acoustics, data, security: SM+W
civil and geotech engineer: Collins
vertical transportation, waste management, material handling, and facade access: Lerch Bates

sustainability: Atelier Ten and UpFront Regenerative Design
cost control: Vistara and Vermeulens
code: SGH

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