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The Chicago Public Library, West Loop Branch, is awarded the 2019 Frank Lloyd Wright Award

The 2019 AIA ILLINOIS FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AWARD was presented to the Chicago Public Library, West Loop Branch, for achievement in enhancing the natural and built environment of a community through the new design or renovation of an individual building. The award was presented at a reception at the Chicago Public Library West Loop Branch on November 25th, 2019.

Formerly part of the campus of a Chicago-based international television production company, the interiors of the original buildings had been heavily segmented and modified to meet the needs of television production. The expansive wooden ceiling trusses had been concealed, the historic brick walls hidden, hardwood floors tarnished, and partition walls erected throughout to minimize daylight and views through the space. Outside, the exterior lacked a coherent identity, appearing understated on the street: beige stucco and painted brick allowed it to blend into its surroundings.

Working closely with the client and the Chicago Public Library system, beginning in 2017, the design team identified areas of opportunity to unify the two buildings, with a powerful contextual exterior and unique interior spaces to realize the most significant impact for library patrons, while preserving the historic elements of the buildings.

"The new WEST LOOP LIBRARY BRANCH is a proud example of how city officials come together with private partners to build strong neighborhoods and provide a place for all community residents to gather, share and succeed," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the opening in January 2019.

Collaborators on this project from SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL LLP include:

  • Brian Lee, FAIA

  • Jeannine Colaco

  • Bethany Woodward

  • Alex Kisiel

  • Michelle Mirrielees

  • Wil Bruchmann, AIA

  • Tom Harris, Tom Harris Photography

All award winners have positively impacted citizens throughout the state of Illinois by helping create communities in which people are drawn to live and work, and to live healthier and happier.


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