Concrete Architecture in Chicago

Chicago is home to a diverse variety of architecture. Throughout Chicago, you’ll find a variety of architectural styles. Brutalist and concrete architecture are very popular in Chicago, and the city has some famous buildings in this style.

Seventeenth Church of Christ Scientist

The Seventeenth Church was built by Sumner Sollitt Construction Company. It is constructed of concrete formed into a circular design. It is solid concrete with no windows–the only natural light comes from a skylight in the roof.

Henry Hinds Laboratory for Geophysical Sciences

This laboratory was built by I.W. Colburn. Its concrete construction pays homage to other campus buildings, and the towers were also inspired by the University of Chicago architecture. This building successfully merges the older architectural styles found on campus with the new, Brutalist architecture that was coming into style when it was built.

Arthur J. Schmitt Academic Center

Another university campus building, the Schmitt Academic Center (SAC) resides at DePaul University. This example of Brutalist architecture was built by C.F. Murphy and won the Concrete Contractors Association Superior Craftmanship Award in 1968. Although additions have been built through the years, the SAC became an example of what DePaul’s architecture would look like for decades to come.

Unity Temple

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple building is a prime example of the flexibility of concrete architecture. This building was commissioned to embody “unity, truth, simplicity, freedom, and reason,” and Wright rose to the challenge. His signature style perfectly adapted to the requested building, and because concrete was so cheap, Wright chose it as his material. The result is a truly iconic building that showcases the beauty of concrete architecture. 

Chicago’s Brutalist and concrete architecture are examples of how diverse concrete can be as a building material. For all your concrete needs, visit Elston Materials and find out how we can help your project become just as iconic as those above.

Cassie Vu