Civic + Cultural

Discovery Partners Institute


Canopy and Studio Gang Architects (SGA) worked closely together to establish a concept for a the Discovery Partners Institute’s (DPI) New Center for Education and Research– a University of Illinois institution. Set in the heart of Chicago allows it to benefit from the city’s many assets—infrastructure, institutions, culture, and most of all, people—while simultaneously giving back. The design seeks to help the DPI and Chicago maximize these mutual benefits, and in doing so, establish a new benchmark for how a tech incubator can fully engage its city and communities.

Guided by a historical analysis of the site, two core objectives were identified: 1) support the restoration and regeneration of the natural ecology that was destroyed or diminished in the site’s conversion to industrial use; and 2) create new connections to neighboring communities, transportation, and urban assets that overcome the physical barriers that have led the site into disuse over the past half century.


Evolving Chicago’s architectural traditions for 21st-century performance, the proposed design creates an uplifting, instantly recognizable building where lofty thinking connects with the vibrant life of the city.

Its functional, flexible interior spaces and airy atmosphere elevate the work of students, faculty, professional researchers, and entrepreneurs alike.

Welcoming all, the building sets up clever connections between indoors and outdoors and across different levels. It’s here that diverse people meet, collaborate, and build relationships and technologies that will advance Illinois and the world.


Chicago South Loop, Illinois


Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) with the Capital Development Board (CDB)


Studio Gang Architects (Lead Architect), Scape Studio (Landscape Architect), Thorton-Tomasetti (Structural), dbHMS (MEP Engineer)

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