Spotlight on campus buildings

Aerial view of the skyline at sunset from east side.

The view from the 28th floor of University Hall, which is among campus sites on display this weekend during Open House Chicago.

This weekend, see UIC spots in a different light during Open House Chicago.

The annual festival, which is organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, lets people tour iconic architectural gems across the city — no registration or tickets required. This year, 259 buildings are offering behind-the-scenes access, including three UIC sites on east campus: Richard J. Daley Library, University Hall and the UIC Police Station.

University Library IDEA Commons lobby entrance

The IDEA Commons will show visitors “what a modern library looks like on a university campus,” says Linda Naru, assistant university librarian. — (Photo: UIC Photo Services)

“We chose sites that showcase what’s unique in a specific area,” said Eric Rogers, the festival’s program coordinator. “Eighty-six percent of visitors are local to the area, so this gives them the opportunity to explore their own city.”

UIC’s campus is architecturally distinctive.

“[UIC buildings] are really fascinating examples of brutalist architecture,” Rogers said.

University Hall, located at 601 S. Morgan St., is one example. Standing at 338 feet, the structure is a famous university landmark and a reminder of the concrete Circle Campus designed by architect Walter Netsch. People are invited to the 28th floor of UH from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to experience a 360-degree view of Chicago from the top.

Richard J. Daley Library, at 801 S. Morgan St., will showcase a space with a more modern design. Although the library was built in 1965, the IDEA Commons, a live-learn area inside of it, was renovated in 2011 by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

7th District Police Station

UIC Police Station.

“It’s a warm and inviting space that shows one way students learn today,” said Linda Naru, assistant university librarian. “It’s important for people to see what a modern library looks like on a university campus.”

There, visitors will explore the 15,000-square-foot space and learn about the beginnings of the site. On Saturday, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The UIC Police Station will also welcome visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at 943 W. Maxwell St. The historic brick building, formerly known as the 7th District station, is famous for its role in the 1980s TV show “Hill Street Blues” and the NBC drama series “Chicago PD.” One of the station’s cells even held mobster Al Capone. Guests will get exclusive access to the lobby, a gun range located in the building’s lowest level, and the station’s lockup and a cell.

“It’s an opportunity for people to see the functionality of the building and how it’s been transformed and transitioned throughout the years,” said UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker. “It has a lot of history.”

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