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University Club, Chicago
This model consists of approximately 1,900 pieces.
About this creation
Built between 1907 and 1909, the University Club of Chicago has been the home of its namesake organization for more than a century. Located at 76 East Monroe Street along Michigan Avenue, the University Club was designed by Holabird & Roche and is arguably the first neo-gothic skyscraper ever built.

This model was commissioned on behalf of the University Club of Chicago, and will be on permanent display in the building. Also included in the model is the University Club's recent expansion of 30 S Michigan to the north, the historic Monroe Building across the street to the south, and the section of Millennium Park that includes Chicago's world-famous Crown Fountain opposite Michigan Avenue. The inclusion of these additional buildings and park space helps to more broadly situate the University Club Building within the broader geographical and cultural context of Chicago. Model completed November 10, 2016.

More photos on Brickshelf

The University Club of Chicago consists of twelve stories and is roughly 160-ft tall. The expressive and highly ornamented fašade features such gothic motifs as a uniform window grid bound by continuous vertical lines which continue upward to be topped by fluted, conical pinnacles, while the overall footprint culminates in a steeply-sloped slate roof.

Equally historical, though often overshadowed by its neighbor, the Monroe Building (left) at 104 S Michigan Ave is a sixteen story skyscraper built between 1910 and 1912, and is also an exemplary neo-gothic precedent in its own right. Also designed by Holabird & Roche, the Monroe Building has undergone several restorations to preserve the intricate lobby tile work by acclaimed Rookwood Pottery of Cincinnati. Currently, the building is used as office space, with tenants such as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) taking up headquarters there.

The ninth floor of the University Club features the famous Cathedral Hall, which architect Roche has likened to London's Crosby Hall. This dramatic space features extensive adornment such as stained glass windows designed by artist Frederic Clay Bartlett as well as emblems representing members' universities. When I was first in talks for this commission, I was given a tour of the building and was fortunate enough to experience this space. You can check out my picture on my Instagram.

Designing the University Club Building was, indeed, quite challenging despite, or probably because of its small size. With this building being the central focus of the overall commission, I strove to include as much detail as possible with the mere 4x10 stud footprint. This was no easy task, as more than fifty percent of the pieces ended up needing to be upside down in order to accommodate the necessary elements and properly emulate the gothic motifs.

Across Michigan Avenue to the east, is the section of Millennium Park which hosts Crown Fountain. This famous Chicago attraction was designed by artist Jaume Plansa and Kruek and Sexton Architects. Featuring a long, black granite base reflecting pool with glass brick towers on either end, the plaza is known for its interactive lighting and water works, with faces of Chicagoans displayed on-screen behind the glass bricks. These faces change throughout the day and periodically spray water from a tube near their mouths.

This is the first time I have built any portion of the much larger Millennium Park. Designing the landscape of the park was an enjoyable reprieve from my usual skyscraper routine. I expect it won't be long before I return to Millennium Park with a much broader focus and intent to integrate it with my ever-growing Chicago cityscape.

A final view from Millennium Park shows Crown Fountain and the buildings along Michigan Avenue in this street level view.


  November 18, 2016
Incredible detail, my favorite part is the way you made arches at the bottom of the University Club of Chicago.
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  November 17, 2016
Lovely job! --Blast--
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  November 17, 2016
Some extremely impressive parts choices and techniques, beautiful model!!
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  November 16, 2016
Simply gorgeous! I love the trees, care to do a walk through tutorial for them?
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  November 16, 2016
Excellent build!
  November 16, 2016
Btw, you should stop by my Chicago FD Engine. It's a nice background story ;)
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  November 16, 2016
Every detail is instantly recognizable. Magnificent work my friend! It's such a great addition to your growing Chicago. And now I know Chicago in real life after we were there in September. We discovered every part of Millenium Park, were resting in Lurie Garden, walked to Cloud Gate and then to Crown Fountain and then we walked over the bridge to the Art Institute. Before we were in Millenum Park we had a nice walk from Sears Tower down E Jackson Drive to Lake Michigan. Was a great time in the US and in Chicago and now I have a waaaay different view on your creations because I recognize so many landmarks we visited during our stay. Keep on brickin my friend :)
By Rocco Buttliere
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Added November 16, 2016

LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop University Club, Chicago

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