Chicago’s Chinatown Public Library wins steel design award

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chinatown public library
Photo by Jon Miller, Hedrich Blessing

The Chinatown Public Library in Chicago has earned national recognition in the 2017 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2).

“Simple in its complexity, this is a beautiful design that blends the art, steel materials, architecture and structure in masterful ways,” American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) president Charlie Carter said in a statement. “We are so pleased to be able to recognize the designers and constructors who brought this building to life.”

In honor of this achievement, members of the project team will be presented with awards from the AISC during a ceremony at the library on July 19, at 6 p.m.

The two-story, 16,370 sq. ft. building’s interior space radiates from a central atrium, and the main structural beams are similarly arranged on a radius. Round hollow structural sections (HSS) were selected for the columns, as they provided a clean surface where several beams connect into a single point and also facilitated and simplified the non-orthogonal lateral bracing connections.

The project’s team members include:

Owner: City of Chicago
Architects: Wight and Company, Chicago; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Chicago
Structural engineer: Drucker Zajdel Structural Engineers, Chicago (entered the project in the competition)
Construction manager: Wight and Company, Chicago
Steel fabricator: McFarlane Mfg., Sauk City, Wis. (AISC member/AISC certified)

The 13 IDEAS2 winners for 2017 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received from architectural and engineering and other project team member firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 award dates back more than 50 years with AISC.

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