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Architects selected to design new library and housing facilities

A concept design for the new Roosevelt Branch of the Chicago Public Library, designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. | City of Chicago =

Three architecture firms will design new Chicago Public Library branches that are close to housing facilities.

The firms were selected by the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development after a design competition that started in late 2016, the mayor’s office said in a statement. They submitted proposals that were judged on quality and context, sustainability and innovation.

The three firms include:

  • John Ronan Architects for the library’s Independence Branch at 4022 N. Elston in Irving Park;
  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for the library’s Roosevelt Branch near Taylor and Ada streets on the Near West Side; and
  • Perkins+Will for the library’s Northtown Branch at Western and Pratt avenues in West Ridge.

“These three firms will bring world-class design to new housing and community anchors so that neighborhood residents can enjoy the best of what design has to offer,” Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon said in the statement.

All three firms have Chicago roots and helped build community-based projects such as the Chinatown Branch Library, Jones College Preparatory High School and the Gary Comer Youth Center, the mayor’s office said.

Concept designs for the new Independence (left) and Northtown branches of the Chicago Public Library, designed by architecture firms John Ronan Architects and Perkins+Will, respectively. | City of Chicago

Each branch will offer an early childhood learning space, access to the Library’s Teacher in the Library program for homework assistance, technology and other programs or resources, the mayor’s office said.

The new library branches also will offer technology and workforce programs for adults, including computer classes, digital literacy coaching, book clubs and other training, according to the mayor’s office.

The firms will work with the city and community members through design workshops to come up with a final design of each facility that meets the needs of its community, the mayor’s office said. Construction is slated to begin by the end of 2017 and finish in winter 2018.