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University of Chicago Law Library



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 facility.

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








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