Public-Private Partnership Shaping Up at 1328 West Taylor

We’re learning more about the various public-private partnerships that City of Chicago agencies are putting together in order to bring private housing and public services to some of the city’s neighborhoods.

Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM)

Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM)

At 1328 West Taylor Street in what’s left of Little Italy, paperwork recently filed with the city shows the Chicago Housing Authority is working with Related and Bickerdike Redevelopment to put up what’s being called the Roosevelt Square Library. Currently the property is a surface parking lot.  Before that it was the C.H.A.’s ABLA Homes.

New York architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which received worldwide acclaim for its recently completed Chinatown Library is the guiding vision for this building.  It describes the project thusly:

Activating the street while reflecting the scale and texture of the neighborhood, the buildings are set back and staggered across the site, creating a new public space while preserving the Taylor Street Gardens. Positioned prominently at the corner of the site, the Roosevelt Branch Library welcomes the community inside, with soaring open spaces designed for kids, teenagers, and adults located adjacent to centralized work spaces for librarians and staff. Upstairs, a landscaped public rooftop is envisioned as an outdoor reading room for use by the public and residents alike.

Overlooking the library and Taylor Street Gardens, residential units feature floor-to-ceiling windows that will create bright, daylit interiors. Indoor spaces were designed with a focus on communal living, providing shared areas on each floor, an open-concept central circulation staircase, and rooftop greenspace.

The lead architect is Brian Lee, who also headed up the Chinatown project. The new library will be roughly double the size of the one it’s replacing.

Since the city is involved, you can bet your Aunt Edna’s cobbler there’s affordable housing included.

  • Address: 1340 West Taylor Street
  • Address: 1328 West Taylor Street
  • Developer: Chicago Housing Authority
  • Developer: Related
  • Developer: Bickerdike Redevelopment
  • Architect: Brian Lee
  • Architecture firm: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Floors: 7
  • Maximum height: 86 feet
  • Residences: 73
  • Library: 16,000 square feet
  • Auto parking spaces: 35

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Location: 1328 West Taylor Street, Little Italy


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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  1. I thought SOM was a Chicago-based and headquartered architectural firm. They have offices in NY and elsewhere but they are not considered a NYC architectural firm. Please advise.

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