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Architecture of the Spertus Building

Architecture of the Spertus Building

Spertus Institute’s building, designed by Krueck Sexton Partners, is a contemporary gem on Chicago’s historic South Michigan Avenue

Spertus Institute’s ten-story home is an innovative vertical campus located front and center within Chicago’s academic and cultural corridor.

Located directly across from Grant Park, the building features skyline and Lake Michigan views from nearly every window.

Spertus Institute by Krueck Sexton Partners

Mission Centered

The lightness and openness of the design echoes Spertus Institute’s culture of inclusiveness and dedication to learning that sparks change. The open, adaptive, and accessible facility reflects values that are core to us: a welcoming environment designed for education, rooted in our community, with access to the latest resources and technology.

Designed for Education

In a feat of architectural wizardry by Chicago-based Krueck Sexton Partners, the building's lightness and openness belie its adaptive, education-centered, hard-working design. Spaces and features do double or triple duty, making maximum use of the building’s narrow lot while creatively serving programmatic needs.

Connected, open, flexible spaces foster community, provide showcase settings for Spertus programs and events, and are used for revenue-generating event rentals that support institutional initiatives.

Spertus Institute by Krueck Sexton Partners

About the Window Wall

The window wall is built from 726 individual pieces of glass in 556 different shapes and sizes.

Like the surrounding buildings, which were built in a period of architectural innovation just after the Chicago fire, the Spertus building is forward-looking in its design. Yet it maintains respect for its important setting. For example, the average size of each window in the Spertus facade is consistent with the standard window size up and down Michigan Avenue. Like the bay windows of these grand buildings from 19th and 20th century, our angled windows bring light deep into our interior and expand the views of outside.

This emphasis on light echoes the Spertus logo, a flame accompanied by the Hebrew phrase yehi or, be the light.


  • AIA Illinois Chapter, 200 Great Places in Illinois
  • Commission on Chicago Landmarks | Preservation Excellence
  • Crystal Achievement Award | Most Innovative Curtain Wall
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation | Patron of the Year
  • AIA Illinois Chapter | Louis Sullivan
  • AIA Chicago Chapter | Divine Detail Award
  • AIA Chicago Chapter | Distinguished Building Award
  • Chicago Commercial Real Estate Build to Suit Project of the Year
  • Interior Design Magazine | Best Building of the Year Award
  • Chicago Athenaeum | American Architecture Award


SilverLEED® Silver
Environmental sustainability is a core value at Spertus.

In Jewish tradition, the idea is embodied in the tenets of bal tashchit or “do not destroy or waste” and tikkun olam or “repair of the world.” Through sustainable design and energy-efficient operations, Spertus honors these concepts as well as Chicago’s green initiatives.

In the Spertus building, windows are specially coated to reduce heat, glare, and energy usage. Ceramic enamel frits (in a dot pattern) control heat gain and glare, and, important for our location across from Grant Park in a local migratory flight path, they make the glass visible to birds, thus deterring bird strikes. Internal shades control heat gain and glare.

A green roof (planted with special vegetation) manages storm water, absorbs air pollution, and keeps the building cool in the summer,. This helps mitigate the urban heat effect, a phenomenon that causes the city to be 2 to 10 degrees hotter than nearby rural areas.

Through measures including high performance lighting and demand-based ventilation, the building achieves a 29% reduction in energy consumption, resulting in 550 tons of avoided CO2 per year. Water-saving fixtures are used throughout, and healthy materials, high-efficiency air filtration, and special humidity controls provide quality indoor air for the welfare of visitors, students, and staff.

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