Chicago Public Library’s Chinatown Branch Wins CISCO’s Project of the Year Award

Bryant Payne, Public Building Commission, (312) 742-0878
Patrick Molloy, Chicago Public Library, (312) 747-4050

Recognized as a top quality union construction project, Chicago’s Chinatown Branch Library has been awarded Project of the Year in the category of New Construction – Chicago or Suburbs (below $20 million) from the Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO), as part of its annual Pride in Construction Award Program.

Developed by the Public Building Commission on behalf of the Chicago Public Library, the Chinatown Branch Library opened in August 2015 and features a Feng Shui inspired design, state-of-the-art energy efficient radiant heating and cooling ventilation systems, a green roof and an in-ground stormwater retention system. The team of Wight & Co and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed and built the library at Archer and Wentworth.

“We are pleased with the recognition that this award brings to the work that our partners do to create innovative design and environmentally sustainable projects,” Felicia Davis, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission said. “But more importantly, we are proud that we were able to create a public facility that now serves as a new civic, educational and social hub for Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood.”

The Chinatown Branch Library is consistently the busiest neighborhood branch in the 80 location Chicago Public Library system. The Public Building Commission, together with Chicago Public Library, was able to develop a building that not only enriches the physical landscape of Chicago, but enhances the social landscape of the community.

The exterior vertical shading fins provide shade to a glass façade, controlling solar gain and glare while linking passersby to activity inside and library patrons to the surrounding cityscape. Much like a traditional Chinese courtyard plan, all spaces connect to a central atrium, minimizing the building’s total footprint.

“Representing magnificent design while championing environmental sustainability, this library operates in a cost-efficient way,” Library Commissioner Brian Bannon said. “We are proud of this recognition and our partners for helping us bring the community a 21st Century library in an innovative way.”

The City of Chicago’s Department of Fleet and Facility Management owns and operates the building for the Chicago Public Library. The library is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification.

CISCO is a non-profit labor management association. Each year CISCO holds an annual meeting highlighted by its Pride in Construction Awards. Winners are selected in various construction categories based on quality and community impact of each project. A formal presentation to the winners is scheduled at the Association’s annual meeting on Friday, January 27, 2017.


About the Construction Industry Service Corporation: Founded in 1988, the Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) is a labor-management group that brings together unions of the building trades and construction contractor associations representing more than 140,000 construction workers and 8,000 union contractors in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area.

About Chicago Public Library: Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S., and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit

About the Public Building Commission: The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Felicia S. Davis serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at You can also follow the Public Building Commission of Chicago on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Flickr.