Friday, July 10, 2015

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

The University of Illinois system includes, in addition to its flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign and a smaller campus in the state capital Springfield, a big-city campus in Chicago (UIC). Located just west of the downtown Chicago Loop, UIC has a very urban feel. Upon arriving at UIC via subway, one then follows a path to the campus along an expressway overpass (shown above). Further, the campus is almost literally in the shadows of downtown's skyscrapers, including the Willis Tower (better known by its former name, the Sears Tower).

Some of the buildings have a "concrete jungle" look, amidst the green of campus lawns, as shown in the next two photos.

UIC also has some public art, however, to improve the aesthetics of the setting.

Also, within the Student Center, there's an interesting looking student lounge (I'm not sure if it's retro or futuristic!).

To my mind, the most important structure on the UIC campus is Jane Addams's Hull House, most active from 1889-1935 from what I can gather, and now remaining only as a museum (official website, Wikipedia page). Described as providing "innovative social, educational, and artistic programs" for recently arrived immigrants in the neighborhood, Hull House also served as a launching pad for social reformers and activists to formulate policy ideas.

The Hull-House complex long predated UIC in its Near West Side location. In fact, construction of the present UIC campus in the 1960s required demolition of most of the Hull-House complex. According to this 1994 Chicago Tribune article:

In 1963, the Hull House Association sold its 13-building complex, all on the 800 block of South Halsted, to the City of Chicago as a prelude to construction of UIC. Eleven buildings fell to the wrecker's ball. Only a national protest saved the remaining two, the former mansion of real estate dealer Charles Hull and the Residents' Dining Hall.