University selects award–winning Tigerman McCurry Architects to design new Seminary Co–op Bookstore in McGiffert House

University Communications

As the Seminary Co-op Bookstore plans its move into a new home in a University building on Woodlawn Avenue, the world-renowned firm of Tigerman McCurry Architects has been selected to design the new, expanded space.

The firm's Chicago-based principals, Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry, are influential leaders in both design and architectural theory. In addition to designing a wide variety of buildings around the world, Tigerman is known for establishing Archeworks, a school dedicated to social responsibility in the built environment.

The Architect Selection Committee, consisting of University faculty, trustees, administrators and a student, as well as representatives of the Co-op, chose Tigerman McCurry as the architect of record.

"Tigerman McCurry brings not only a strong track record of design, but also a deep love for books and the power of navigating between theory and practice," said Steve Wiesenthal, Associate Vice President for Facilities Services and University Architect. "They are a great choice to make the most of this collaboration between the University and the Co-op."

"We're honored to have been selected to build upon the legacy of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore on the one hand; and on the other hand, we're delighted the Seminary Co-op looks optimistically to a future that embraces both the print media and technological innovation in the matter of scholarship," said Tigerman.

As part of the adaptive reuse of the building at 5757 S. University Ave., the Seminary Co-op Bookstore will move from its current basement location there to a new 8,900-square-foot home in the basement and first floor of the McGiffert House, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. The move is scheduled for early 2012.

Jack Cella, Seminary Co-op Bookstore general manager, said that the move will allow the independent bookstore to expand its selections and offer services it never could before - a rare opportunity at a time when many booksellers are struggling.

"It certainly lends itself to being a very good public space," said Cella. "We have a goal of very aggressive weekly programming. It's on a major north/south street, so it's now more available to the community as well; and we're excited about the firm because they are very interested in thinking about designing the bookstore with an independent, home-grown spin to it."

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore and University of Chicago officials announced the bookstore's move earlier this summer. The University is funding the move and renovation.

Both the 5757 S. University Ave. building and McGiffert House were sold to the University by the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2008. The Seminary will move to a new building now under construction south of the Midway, while 5757 S. University Ave. will become new space for the Department of Economics and the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics.