On Sunday, January 28th, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was joined by senior officials from the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Library (CPL) to break ground on one of the city's first co-located housing and public library branches. Designed by SOM and developed by Related Midwest, the Taylor Street Apartments and Roosevelt Branch Library will create a synergy between the two civic services by bringing them under one roof.
With two distinct programs in one building, the Taylor Street Apartments and Roosevelt Branch Library is envisioned as a new hub for the neighborhood. Set back and staggered on the site along West Taylor and Ada Streets, the building will provide rooftop green space, communal areas, and floor-to-ceiling windows for residential units. The library will offer soaring open spaces designed for children, teenagers, and adults, bringing vital public space to the city’s Near West Side.
On the Taylor Street Apartments and Roosevelt Branch Library, 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin said: “This project bringing together housing with a neighborhood library will be paramount for our community. This investment shows our residents that no matter what your income is or what neighborhood you live in, if you call Chicago home you should have a range of housing options to choose from.”
At the event, Mayor Emanuel also announced a new CPL branch in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, to be designed by SOM and developed by Sterling Bay Companies. Building on the City’s efforts to provide residents in every neighborhood access to high quality, modern library facilities, the new branch will be housed in a repurposed former office building. It will feature adult and children’s areas, meeting and computer rooms on the first level, and a community room and CPL’s regional offices on the second floor.
“West Loop residents welcome the addition of a library to the community as rapid development continues,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., of the 27th Ward. “We look forward to this new resource and tapping into the innovative programs CPL provides to residents across the city.”
Brian Lee, SOM Design Partner, said, “SOM is excited to be designing two new public libraries in Chicago. These two projects, located on the Near West Side and in the West Loop, represent two very different, yet equally innovative, approaches to the creation of neighborhood centers in the city. Drawing from our experience on the Chinatown Branch Library, we look forward to working hand-in-hand with each community to realize these two unique projects.”
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Since its founding more than 80 years ago, SOM has earned a reputation for design excellence with a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, and Mumbai.
About the Chicago Public Library
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Each year, Chicago Public Library offers 100,000 computer help sessions, free online and in-person homework help citywide, supports 2.9 million computer sessions, and draws almost 10 million visitors per year. CPL now offers many Chicago neighborhoods multimedia collaboration spaces designed for teens, Maker Labs that allow patrons to do 3D design and printing, and a website that allows patrons online access to a plethora of library materials, including eBooks, audiobooks, and periodicals. CPL has seen double digit increases in reach and demand for these high-quality services. Demand for these services continues to grow in Chicago neighborhoods, and investment in current and new library buildings is necessary meet these demands.
About the Chicago Housing Authority
Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) helps build vibrant communities across the city. By using housing as a platform, the agency works with a host of key stakeholders to sustain strong neighborhoods to best prepare CHA residents for the global economy on their road toward self-sufficiency. CHA also provides stable, decent, safe, and affordable housing to more than 62,000 low-income families and individuals, while supporting healthy communities in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.