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The University of Chicago Cobb Gate

Symbolic Hundreds of people a day become participants in the University's rich educational dialogue by traveling through the historic Gate.

The historic renovation of the iconic gate blends with the original, while permitting people to more easily pass through its portal.

Chicago, Illinois
Scope of Services
Architectural Design

Construction Type

Special Recognition
American Institute of Architects Chicago, Divine Detail Award
Association of Licensed Architects, Award of Merit
Architect Magazine, feature

LCM solved numerous challenges posed by bringing the University of Chicago’s historic Cobb Gate into accessibility compliance.

Cobb Gate is a key element of the University of Chicago’s history and campus circulation. The 1897 structure is on axis from the main library to the historic quad. LCM’s campuswide survey for accessibility compliance discovered the walking slope through Cobb Gate exceeded permissible slopes.

Our design solution lowers the pavement 15 inches. The process exposed sections of original, unfinished foundation stones, which were either refinished or concealed by new construction. Cobb Gate contains entrances to buildings on either side. It is also an entry point for emergency vehicles. The project necessitated lowering a below-grade utility tunnel connecting adjacent buildings. We had to meet stringent structural and clearance requirements to accommodate all these challenges.

We redesigned entrances on the east and west sides, adding limestone stairs and metal railings carefully detailed to complement the historic structure. The 100-year-old iron gates were removed and restored to working order for the first time in many years.

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