More Details About the New Roosevelt University Skyscraper

The proposed new Roosevelt University building

The proposed new Roosevelt University building

A meeting was held today to provide the public with more information about the new skyscraper that Roosevelt University is building in the Loop (421 South Wabash Street).  You can read more about the new Roosevelt University “vertical campus” building here.

Nothing earth-shattering came out of the information session, but there was one thing that came up that we failed to notice before — the building is only shiny happy glass on three sides.

The north side of the building is mostly a concrete-clad service core.  It’s similar to the design of 30 West Monroe, the building that architects continue to refer to as the Inland Steel building.

In the main publicity rendering distributed about Roosevelt University’s still unnamed building, the service core is not visible.  But it is visible in a couple of the supplemental computer drawings, especially this one:

The facade is dark granite to match the base of the Auditorium Building (430 South Michigan Avenue) next door.  It runs the entire height of the north side of the building for two reasons.

  1. To consolidate mechanical services in one place so that the rest of the floorspace can be made a more open space.
  2. The university doesn’t own the plot of land next door, so it is assumed that eventually a building will go up there that will be tall enough to block the view to the north anyway.
The proposed new Roosevelt University building

The proposed new Roosevelt University building

Naturally, the new skyscraper, described as a “vertical campus,” is going for LEED certification.  It replaces the old Herman Crown Center, which opened in 1971 with 364 beds.  New city safety codes made the Crown building obsolete, so it is being torn down right now.  The new building will be able to house 40% more students.

Other information that came out today:
  • Cost: $118 million
  • Scheduled opening: January, 2012
  • Site size: 17,000 square feet
  • Will be the second-tallest university building in the United States.
  • Will be the sixth-tallest university building in the world.
  • Inspired by Chicago’s Inland Steel Building.
  • Inspired by Constantin Brâncuşi’s Endless Column
  • Designed to look good from the El
  • Facade will be made of various shades of tinted glass

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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