At the heart of the University of Illinois Chicago Circle stood a two-story classical amphitheater known as Circle Forum. This was the center of campus life, home to concerts, performances, and even student protests. Those traveling from one building to another passed through the area. A level higher, the roofs of the surrounding buildings formed a vast plaza called the Great Court, punctuated by seating areas known as exedras. Walkways at the second floor level tied this central structure to all the surrounding campus buildings.
Only photographs remain to convey the remarkable architecture that once stood here. Circle Forum, the Great Court, and the walkways were all demolished in the mid 1990s after gradually falling into disuse and disrepair. Lack of climate control and difficulty of maintenance, especially in winter, were factors contributing to the university’s decision to abandon those elements of the Netsch design.
Chicago architect Daniel P. Coffey was responsible for the redesign of the area as it appears today.
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