Monday, December 24, 2018

The Chicago Public Library Northtown Branch closed before Christmas of 2018. View the artist rendering of the new Northtown Library at the North-West corner of Pratt Bouldvard and Western Avenue.

The Northtown Branch of the Chicago Public Library at 6435 North California closed the week of December 16th, 2018, after 56 years of service to the West Ridge community.
The building was designed by City Architect Paul Gerhardt Jr., and built for the economical sum of $174,438. A new Northtown Branch will open in the winter of 2019 at the North-West corner of Pratt Bouldvard and Western Avenue.
This was my Library branch all through grammar and high school, as I lived only ½ block west on Arthur Avenue. All the employees knew me by name. As a young kid with a childrens library card, I was allowed to check out books from the adult side of the library. The library was a retreat from home... anytime I wanted to 'escape' I was always allowed to go to the library. I read a LOT of books!

The new Northtown Chicago Public Library Branch is a mixed-use structure being built at the north-west corner of Western Avenue and Pratt Boulevard; 6800 North Western Avenue.
The four-story project was designed by Chicago-based global architecture firm Perkins+Will, which has designed more than a dozen library projects. The West Ridge project features a glassy, 16,000-square-foot ground-floor library space topped by 44 affordable senior housing units.
Modular housing units wind above from the west to the east, enlivening the typical residential corridor while creating roof gardens that acknowledge the public park to the east and the quiet residential neighborhood to the west. Double height glazed lobbies connect the library to the senior housing, inspiring community interaction between the inside and outside, the public and private.
The library is anchored at both ends with vibrant community spaces, one showcasing teens and technology, while a community room and lobby at the opposite end will house an artist-in-residence, and be available to the community after regular library hours. Creating one large open space for visual connection throughout also meant creating intuitive identities and zones for patrons. Shaping of the stacks and the lighting above helps create paths and destinations visible across the space.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. The new library is simply hideous. The building is ugly and out of character for the neighborhood. While property owners on the north end of the ward will see a boost in their real estate values, the south end has been left without a cultural anchor or a place for poor kids to learn. Kids on the south end tend not to have home computers, while those on the north end do. This was not considered when the north side neighbors asked the alderman to move the library to their area. That lovely artist's rendering is a fantasy. There are only a dozen parking spaces behind the building, and the closest parking is several blocks away and on the other side of Western, not exactly conducive to walking in show- or rainstorms or 90 degree weather.


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