Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Architecture: Mansueto Library

This project was under construction while we lived here in Chicago, and I hadn't had a chance to see it complete. At one point Chuck toured it under construction during Grad School, and got a few nice pictures of the underground work in progress. It's an addition by Helmut Jahn to the existing 1970 brutalist building by Skidmore, Owings and Merril (SOM). The addition includes a reading room, offices, and 50 feet of below ground book storage with an automated retrieval system. (That last link is a video that explains the system)

 Mansueto Library Printer's Block

Although I was able to get in for a visit I had to leave my Dad outside. Apparently they will only allow visitors from more than 60 miles away to come in with a day pass. (Glad I finally got my Oregon ID not too long ago.) The interior seems like an attractive study space and it was certainly packed. I couldn't help but he reminded of the Seattle Public Library, although the scale of this space is much smaller. A connecting hallway was also part of the new construction and features a nice collection of lead reproductions of printer's marks including William Morris and others, by artist and architect Edgar Miller. I tried not to keep my Dad waiting too long, but I think he was entertained by taking some pictures of the elaborate collegiate Gothic architecture on the University of Chicago campus, which even includes some great gargoyles.

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