The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library

University of Chicago

The state-of-the-art Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, with a bold and innovative design by Helmut Jahn, features a glass dome supported by a 50-foot-deep slurry wall foundation. The library houses a preservation and conservation library, an 8,000 sf Grand Reading Room, and over 3.5 million books.

For book storage, the library utilizes an underground Automated Storage Retrieval System (ASRS), the largest of its kind in the United States. Robotic cranes and a software control system work together to retrieve and deliver books from underground bins to researchers within five minutes.

With tight site restrictions and exacting temperature and humidity requirements, these innovative and challenging technical features required project management focused on details and oversight. From preconstruction through project closeout, Cotter provided project management services for Mansueto Library by working closely with the university to ensure all quality, budget, and schedule goals were met.



  • 2011 AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award
  • 2011 GE Edison Award of Merit
  • 2011 Chicago Architecture Foundation Patron of the Year Award