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New Roosevelt University Building photograph.
Image courtesy of Roosevelt University

New Roosevelt University Building photograph.
Image courtesy of Roosevelt University

New Roosevelt University Building photograph.
Image courtesy of Roosevelt University

New Roosevelt University Building photograph.
Image courtesy of Roosevelt University

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The New Roosevelt University Building

Built: 2010-2012
Cost: $110,000,000
Designed by: VOA
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 32
Maximum Height: 469 feet / 143 meters
Maximum width: 100 feet
Maximum length: 170 feet
Location: 425 South Wabash Street, Chicago, United States
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Building Rating
80% of readers like the New Roosevelt University Building.
What do you think?
I t was in the midst of an economic recession that crippled most other large building projects that Roosevelt University announced the construction of this building. While office skyscrapers around Chicago and the nation were cancelled, Roosevelt and other institutions of higher education found themselves swollen with students trying to succeed in a fiercely competitive job market.

The construction of this building coincides with a general revitalization of the Wabash Street corridor. Once a dank, foreboding side street lined with seedy dives and abandoned buildings, in 2007 the City of Chicago began a program of turning it into a bright, airy, lively center of commerce and transportation. This building is the perfect complement.

Its festive angles and glass facade add to the formerly darkened streetscape below. It also replaced a time-ravaged 18-story building and a surface parking lot, neither of which contributed much to the neighborhood.

At 32 stories, it is the tallest educational building in Chicago and a prominent symbol of Roosevelt University in an area crowded with urban colleges of varying pedigrees. While its function is utilitarian, its form is certainly a statement by the University (merely a College just months before the announcement) that it is a major player in midwestern education. The students who live and learn in this building can be proud of the structure.

In design, the undulating angles are reminiscent of the Hearst Tower in New York, and continue a trend being toyed with in many contemporary skyscrapers of having gravity-defying overhangs.

  • Architecture firm: VOA
  • This building joins the historic Auditorium Building at four points.
  • At the time of its completion, this is expected to be the second-tallest university building in the United States.
  • At the time of its completion, this is expected to be the sixth-tallest university building in the world.
  • This building replaced the 364-bed Herman Crown Center with a residential component with 615 beds.
  • This building was inspired by Constantin Brâncuşi's 1926 Endless Column.
  • This building was inspired by Sol Lewitt's 1986 Wall Drawing.
  • This building was inspired by the 1961 Commissariat of Heavy Industry competition entry for Moscow by Ivan Leonidov.
  • This building was inspired by Chicago's 1957 Inland Steel Building.
  • This building was designed to look good from the CTA elevated rail line.
  • This building is divided into "residential," "student union," and "academic" neighborhoods.
  • The east, west, and south facades are various shades of tinted glass.

  • Levels above grade: 32
  • Levels below grade: 1
  • Site size: 17,000 square feet
  • Beds: 615

  • December, 2008: Herman Crown Hall was closed.
  • November, 2009: Demolition of Herman Crown Hall began.
  • November, 2009: This building was announced.
  • April, 2010: Groundbreaking
  • January, 2012: Completion

Nearby Important Buildings
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Things To Look For:
  • The vertical core which runs along the north side of the building. It is clad in dark granite to match the base of the neighboring Auditorium Building.
Did You Know?
  • This building replaces Herman Crown Hall, which was demolished because it would cost too much to bring it into compliance with modern fire codes.

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James VIveros
Thursday, October 18th, 2012 @ 4:42pm
Rating: Five stars.
I Like It! I've been there before the opening of New Roosevelt University. I came from Waukegan, Illionis in April 11, 2012. I saw the view of Chicago and best educational and I want to register to be after Class of 2014.

Brent Kampert
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 @ 7:43pm
Rating: Five stars.
To answer you J. Crocker, yes the 7 storey building is supposedly going to be demolished for another residence hall for Depaul University. Go to to find out more. Go to Neighborhoods and click on Loop and South Loop. It might be 1 of those 2 neighborhoods.

J. Crocker
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 @ 8:04pm
Rating: Three stars.
The Facade material will make it look very similar to the "new" Spertus building on Michigan and the similarly slender Legacy Tower farther north on Wabash. The reflective facade should also fit nicely with the heavy masonry of its very historic neighbor. The proposed building's height will be perfect -- not too tall, nor too short. Remember, a super tall building would block the impressively varied skyline as seen from the lakefront (think Mid-Continental Plaza, yuck!). Also, not to be too critical: this building will be in the Loop, as the South Loop really begins south of Congress.Does anyone know if the unique, 7-storey building to the north (421 South Wabash) will be destroyed? The renderings show it intact, but the article here mentions that the proposed building will replace a surface parking lot. That parking lot happens to be to the north of 421 South Wabash.

Brent Kampert
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 @ 2:55pm
Rating: Five stars.
It will redefine Michigan Avenue's Streetwall with such a classy glass facade that makes angles on Wabash Avenue. Also a great addition to the city's south loop skyline.

Like, but would rather have it taller
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 @ 12:08pm
Rating: Four stars.
Dont get me wrong... I do like this building; however, when planning to build in Chicago, you have to think TALL. Roosevelt should use this kind of money on making Roosevelt one of the tallest buildings in Chicago and use it as a marketing strategy!

Stunning new building!
Friday, January 8th, 2010 @ 1:59pm
Rating: Four stars.
This building looks like a wonderful new addition to the Chicago skyline! The varying shades of blue "windows" are reminiscent of clouds against a blue sky. The sleek, undulating surface with its unusual overhangs is very appealing; it really takes the Wabash St. architecture to a new level .

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