The Joseph Regenstein Library Building
- Building and Location
The Joseph Regenstein Library,
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637
A graduate research library in the social sciences and
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago
Walter Netsch, senior architect.
Reinforced concrete: B-Level floor, concrete slab; other floors,
waffle, pan slab. Exterior walls, Indiana limestone, heavily scored
vertically. Module size: 27 feet square.
Area: 577,085 gross square feet. Maximum east-west dimension: 344
feet. Maximum north-south dimension: 411'6". Seven floors plus
Approximately $20,750,000, including all fees, equipment,
furniture, landscaping, site preparation, moving, and other costs.
Cost per square foot: $35.96.
- Sources of Funds
The Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation, $10,000,000; The
Harriett Pullman Schermerhorn Charitable Trust, $500,000; other
University gifts and grants; and $3,410,772 under Title II of the
Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963.
Volumes: 3,525,000 total (3,300,000 in bookstacks; 225,000
in open shelves)
Seating: 2,897 total. (940 at tables; 1,019 at carrel
desks; 275 in bookstacks; 28 at microform reading; 108 at index
tables; 149 in typing rooms; and 224 in seminar and group-study
Faculty Studies: 253
Locking Shelves: 3,700
January 6, 1964: Gift from Harriett Pullman Schermerhorn
Charitable Trust; July 1, 1965: Preliminary plans
completed; October 22, 1965: Gift from Joseph and Helen
Regenstein Foundation; June 9, 1966: Award of grant under
Higher Education Facilities Act; September 20, 1967: Site
work started; October 23, 1967: Groundbreaking ceremony;
November 15, 1968: Laying of Cornerstone; October,
1970: Completion and dedication.
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The Joseph Regenstein Library honors the memory of Joseph
Regenstein (1889-1957), an industrialist, a fourth-generation
Chicagoan, and a life-long resident of the city. Interested in
research, and himself responsible for many innovations in the
paper, plastic and chemical fields, Mr. Regenstein maintained an
intense interest in the development of the city and its
institutions. To honor him, the Joseph and Helen Regenstein
Foundation, on November 9, 1965, gave $10,000,000 toward the new
graduate research library.
The Joseph Regenstein Library stands on the site of the original
Stagg Field, the University's athletic field from 1892 to 1967. The
Library is thus on the main north-south axis of the campus and
looks south some 500 yards to William Rainey Harper Memorial
Library, formerly the central library building. The Enrico Fermi
Memorial is situated on the west edge of the 12-acre site of the
Library. Henry Moore's bronze "Nuclear Energy" marks the spot where
Fermi and other scientists achieved man's first controlled,
self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942.
The configuration of the Library offers an interesting response to
the problems posed by a complex service facility, a large building
size (577,085 gross square feet of floor space), a generally
consistent campus plan and style, and the relatively small scale of
the other campus buildings. The massiveness of that portion of the
building used primarily for books is minimized for the viewer from
the west by its division into three "slipped segments." The entire
perimeter of the building is broken at regular intervals by
projecting bays which further reduce the impression of great size
and echo the irregularities of the traditional, gothic University
buildings. The exterior walls are formed by deeply grooved, sawn
limestone slabs, adding texture, life and movement to the surface.
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