Renovation of Saarinen-designed library receives AIA Chicago award
The University of Chicago’s D’Angelo Law Library has been selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as a winner of one of its Interior Architecture Awards. On the heels of its centennial, The University of Chicago Law School began renovating key areas of its landmark, late-1950s campus. In approaching the renovation of the six-floor library tower, OWP/P | Cannon Design intended to respect Saarinen’s mid-century modern building, while enhancing the facility’s functionality, quality and experience.
Saul Levmore, Dean of the Law School said: "The project transformed what was, in essence, a warehouse for books into warm and even well-lit space in which students would be inclined to interact and learn. The building is now warm and inviting - and functional for another fifty years."
New technologies allowed removal of a large portion of the stacks, opening space for circulation, study, a faculty multi-purpose room, and a large gathering space. The Law School’s Student Services were consolidated into the library’s third floor to better engage students with the Reading Room.
Acoustical wood ceilings improved lighting with the added benefit of improving wayfinding, acoustics and overall aesthetics. A new stair, designed in context with the building, creates a connecting sculpture for the revitalised library.
Earlier in 2009, the Society for College and University Planning and AIA Committee on Architecture for Education also awarded the project a merit award.