Designed by world-famous architect Eero Saarinen, the D’Angelo Law Library Tower is one of The University of Chicago’s prize gems. The 113,000-sqft building was constructed in 1950 and underwent a major expansion in 1986. The exterior of the six-floor structure is comprised of an aluminum glazed curtain wall system and adheres to the Saarinen standard of exposed interior concrete. The Law Library Tower serves as the midpoint between administration and faculty, classroom venues and student support services.
The University of Chicago Law School sought to modernize the D’Angelo Law Library Tower while honoring the structure's historical significance. Administration and staff embarked on a complete design plan to incorporate modern systems and finishes that maintain the integrity of the facility. This focus required a construction manager with extraordinary preconstruction planning and field management skills. Berlgund brought the technical expertise required for mechanical and electrical infrastructure upgrades, interior renovations and ADA Standards compliance — while keeping the building open for the student body and community during construction.
The renovation required construction of a unique ventilation system. The original 1950 building had multiple small heating and cooling units housed in the penthouse with a vertical riser system. The 1986 addition had a single unit with a VAV system. These existing conditions required a creative and innovative plan.
The original design plans called for using the new units for temporary ventilation, then connecting this system in place to existing ductwork system. However, the plan was modified when further analysis called for the removal of the existing ductwork within the sixth floor interstitial space.
A Design Build approach expedited the new ductwork system. As construction manager, Berglund monitored independent pier reviews to ensure this modification would not structurally affect the building. As a result of reworking the ductwork system, Berglund initiated a review of the new air handling units. To ensure building occupants would not be affected by the renovation, we devised a plan to instal a temporary unit and feed the existing vertical risers from the sixth floor. Renovation preceded with the renovation of the mechanical system within the penthouses during the redesign of the ductwork the sixth floor.
Photos ©Hedrich Blessing