Library Tower

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520 South State Street, Chicago, IL

Library Tower

Library Tower
Building Information
Architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz
Management Company Lennar
Number of Units 184
Number of Floors 17
Year Built 2008
Construction Method Concrete
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520 South State Street, Chicago, IL
Distance to Public Transit Over 60 options nearby
Region Chicago
Municipality Chicago
Zoning PD 908
Title of Land Condominium



Library Tower, located on 520 South State Street in Chicago Illinois, is a postmodern eighteen story high rise building with 184 condominium units. Its stately and symmetrical architectural design was conceptualized by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, an award winning architecture, interior design and planning firm with offices in Chicago and San Francisco.

They have commercial and institutional design experience in multi-family residential, hospitality, retail, corporate office, higher-education, laboratory, and transportation facilities. [1]

Library Tower Close-Up

It is situated at a five minute walk from the Art Institute, an accredited school and art museum. The Art institute has a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in its permanent collection and is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is the second largest art museum in the United States. It is located in Grant Park, a large urban park dating from Chicago's founding that is home to the Buckingham Fountain, performance venues, gardens, art work, sporting, and harbor facilities.

Library Tower is also a short walk from Lake Michigan and the Marshall Field and Company Building which is the former location of the Marshall Field's department store and the current location of the Chicago flagship of Macy's. State street is lined with stores, trendy restaurants as well as many bars and lounges.[2]


Library Tower is located in the Printers Row neighborhood just south of the Loop, Chicago's downtown core. It has easy access to the elevated, also called the L, which is the rapid transit system servicing the city of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. It is at walking distance from the Chicago Public Library, the Grant Park and the Art Institute.

The Harold Washington, Chicago's Public Library

Printers Row was originally the center of Chicago's printing industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The advances in printing, as well as the need for single floor offices to accommodate newer, larger presses caused a decline of print shops in the area in the 1950s and 1960s. It is bordered by Congress Parkway to the north, Polk Street to the south, Plymouth Court to the east, and the Chicago River to the west.

The neighborhood overlaps with the officially designated landmark Printing House Row District which occupies the 500 through 800 blocks in the Loop community area of Chicago. Printing House Row District was designated a Chicago Landmark on May 9, 1996.[3]

The buildings in the area used to be the warehouses and offices for printing and publishing businesses and in the 1980s were converted into residential loft buildings, condominiums and businesses. In recent years, Printers Row has become a student hub and is populated with numerous schools: South Loop School, Phillips Academy High School, Roosevelt University, Columbia College, Robert Morris University Illinois and DePaul University.

With the implementation of the University Center housing, the area is now populated by over 3,000 college students who live in dorms, apartments, lofts and student housing. Printers Row is full of activity, and its proximity to downtown and the lakefront makes it one of Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhoods.

The neighborhood still keeps a connection to its historical roots by hosting an annual Book Fair each June since 1984. This festival attracts booksellers and readers from all over Chicago and is held on Dearborn and Harrison Streets. Rare editions, inexpensive hardcovers and paperback, finely bound books, music albums and more can be found at the Book Fair and it features guest speakers, authors and poets. [4]


Masonry Cladding

Library Tower was originally set to have a poured concrete exposed system facade but right before construction began, it was changed to a masonry cladding with recessed balconies. It is a postmodern building with a stately and symmetrical architectural design, a caisson foundation and a brick facade. It stands 62.99 meters in height, 31.79 meters in length and 76.72 meters in width. [5]

Masonry cladding, also called stone cladding, is a thin layer of stone applied to a building made of a material other than stone, in the case of the Library Tower, concrete. It often refers to lightweight simulated stone products with a concrete type base. These stone cladding products are often fitted to light weight substrates, typically a timber stud frame, to reduce the material cost of construction. It is attached to a waterproof barrier, then fiber cement sheet, expanded metal mesh, a mortar scratch coat, and then using a mortar mix, the stone cladding would be adhered to the wall. [6]

Layout and Features

  • Hardwood floors
  • GE stainless appliances
  • Granite counter tops
  • Fireplaces
  • Ten foot ceilings
  • Large outdoor spaces
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Balconies
  • Exposed piping
  • Views of the Loop’s skyline and the lofts of Printers Row

Floor Plans

The Library Tower has one and two bedrooms suites that range in size from 865 to 1,430 square feet and the three bedrooms, located on the fifth through the 15th floor, are 1,805 square feet. [7]

Here are two of the building's floor plans.


Below are the many amenities Library Tower has to offer.

  • 24-hour doorman and valet dry cleaner
  • Fitness center
  • Movie theater
  • Business center
  • Roof deck
  • On-Site management
  • Bike room
  • Hospitality room
  • Gated landscaped park


Library Tower Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

  • This building allows pets
  • Rentals are allowed
  • There is no age restrictions
  • Barbecues are allowed


Library Tower is located in Chicago Illinois which is very forward in environmental initiatives, and sustainability. Chicago is integrating sustainability with a variety of plans including the Chicago Climate Action Plan's and investing in energy efficiency targets.

The City is amalgamating sustainability into every aspect of its residents' lives. Their statement is: Creating a green, sustainable city requires hard work, cooperation and a commitment from local government as well as every individual, business and institution in the city. [8]

Sustainable Chicago is organized into seven categories critical to the sustainability of the city. It sets twenty-four specific goals and identifies key actions to take to reach those goals by 2015.

  • Economic development and job creation
  • Energy efficiency and clean energy
  • Transportation options
  • Water and waste-water
  • Parks, open space and healthy food
  • Waste and recycling
  • Climate change


Dearborn Street in Chicago's Printer's Row neighborhood in 1800

  • Originally, the Printer's Row neighborhood was seen as Chicago's Red Light District and was filled with prostitution and crime [9]

  • The Library Tower was originally set to be a 32 story high rise with 227 units but due to a neighborhood petition with 1,100 signatories it had to scale down to 17 floors and 182 units and parking was scaled back from eight to four floors in light of the reduction in residential units

  • Improvisational theater was born in the city of Chicago

  • Chicago's nationally renowned dish is the deep dish pizza which is believed to have originated at Pizzeria Uno [10]


  1. Solomon Cordwell Buenz
  2. Library Tower on See Chicago Real Estate
  3. Printer's Row Neighborhood on Yo Chicago
  4. Chicago Traveler
  5. Library Tower on Emporis
  6. Stone Cladding on Wikipedia
  7. Library Tower Floor Plans
  8. City of Chicago
  9. Printer's Row on Chicago Neighborhoods
  10. Deep Dish Pizza History

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