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Harold Washington Library

You may love it or hate it, but the Harold Washington Library is one of Thomas Beeby’s most well-known and controversial works. Located in downtown Chicago and measuring in at 760,000 square feet, the library is one of the city’s structural staples.

In 1987, Beeby participated in a public design competition. He beat out large and well connected firms, as well as other powerful and talented designers, whose work was more forward looking than Beeby’s classically inspired post-modern design. The Library still inspires extreme response in those who use it regularly. When it was completed in 1991, it was the largest circulating library in America.

The Other Submissions

The Chicago Library Team with Tishman Midwest Management Group, Developers; Murphy/Jahn, Architects; Paschen Contractors, Inc., General Contractors

Metropolitan-Lohan with Metropolitan Structures, Developers and Contractors; Lohan Associates, Architects; Chris P. Stefanos Associates, Structural Engineering

John Buck Company Developers; Vickrey/Oversat/Awsumb Associates, Inc., Architects; Arthur Erickson Architects Ltd. (Canada), Architects; Turner Construction Company, Contractors

Library ’88 Partnership with Stein & Company, Developers; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Architects; Legoretta Arquitectos, A.C., Architects; Morse/Diesel, Inc., Construction Management