This Modernist-style library, completed in 1960 and designed by Finnish-born
architect Eero Saarinen, is part of a four-building Law School complex
clustered around a central reflecting pool facing the Midway Plaisence. It
is the only remaining structure in Chicago by Saarinen, whose best-known
works include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and terminals at both Dulles and
JFK airports. The pleated glass curtain wall of the library, which
culminates in a serrated roofline, was meant to complement similar forms
found in traditional Gothic Revival architecture across campus. As part of
an expansion plan in 1998, this building was considered for demolition.
Instead, the decision was made to construct a more cost-effective rear
addition. In 2006, the university undertook another renovation to this
The interior of the six-story, concrete-frame building was reconfigured in a
way that respects the overall design but makes the space more user-friendly.
Obsolete stacks were removed to create computer resource terminals and
additional study areas. A central staircase was inserted between floors two
and three, and period furnishings by Saarinen and other architects of the
era complete the décor.
Photos: OWP/P Architects