Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.

Our Future Home

The Becker Friedman Institute aims to sustain and expand the Chicago School of Economics and its long tradition of world-changing ideas.

To accommodate the vital exchanges, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and rigorous research that generate such insights, the Institute needs a new home.

The Institute and the Department of Economics are planning to move into Saieh Hall, the landmark building at 5757 South University Avenue in 2014.

This historic Gothic-influenced structure at the heart of campus is being renovated to house the Institute’s robust visiting scholars program, topical conferences, student activities, and research initiatives. Adjacent to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a short walk from the Harris School of Public Policy and the Law School, the facility will become a nexus for academic exchange and a true intellectual destination for economists and researchers in related fields.

Ann Beha Architects, a recognized leader in the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, will transform the structure to facilitate learning, world-class research, and collaboration

. When complete, the building will offer

  • 150,000 square feet of classrooms, computer and research labs, seminar and conference rooms, and collaborative work spaces
  • 68 new offices to accommodate more than 30 short- and long-term scholars visiting the Institute each year, while allowing the department to expand the economics faculty
  • New classrooms throughout the facility, including a 70-seat room on the concourse level with skylights providing natural lighting
  • Many conference and seminar spaces
  • An elegant library in Saieh Hall will continue to foster learning when transformed into a tiered classroom.
  • A large, elegant faculty lounge that provides flexible seminar, event, and gathering space
  • Unique octagonal lobby space and seminar rooms on floors 2 through 5 in the historic Lawton Tower
  • Greatly expanded workspace and gathering areas for graduate and undergraduate students

The project also includes a new adjoining North pavilion to be constructed to the north of the current structure, providing an additional 100-seat state-of-the-art classroom and flexible space for faculty, students, and research. Two existing houses facing Woodlawn Avenue will also be renovated and connected to the structure, and serve as focused research hubs, while preserving their exteriors to blend with the historic residential character of the street.

The project complies with the University’s sustainability goals, with plans for full Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.