Harold Washington Library Center - CODAworx

Harold Washington Library Center

Submitted by Kaskey Studio, LLC

Client: Chicago Public Library

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Completion date: 1991

Artwork budget: $150,000

Project Team


Kent Bloomer

Kent Bloomer Studio


Thomas Beeby

HBRA Architects


Raymond Kaskey

Kaskey Studio, LLC


I was in charge of the capstone and carved granite, repetitive architectural sculptures installed on walls of the building, guilloche & voussoir at the base, spandrel panels with Ceres mask, and swags with windy city medallion. Additionally, owls were incorporated into the antefix and four acroteria by sculptor Kent Bloomer at the corners.


The imagery was chosen to dramatize the library as a treasury of knowledge located in the heart of the Midwest. The city in a metaphorical garden - "urbs in horto" - as the city seal proclaims.


Interpreting and realizing in form the intentions of the architect required close discussions of the meaning of ornament in civic buildings, while staying on top of a fast track design build schedule & budget.