University of Chicago: Law School Reflecting Pool

University of Chicago: Law School Reflecting Pool


The University of Chicago


13,050 sf pool / $2.5M



NHDKMP (Architect)

Delta Fountains (Water Feature Consultant)

Weber Consultants (MEP Engineer)


2009 President’s Award - Illinois Chapter ASLA


University of Chicago: Law School Reflecting Pool

Chicago, Illinois


Originally designed by Eero Saarinen and constructed in the early 1960s, this building is a modern classic complemented by a courtyard with a large reflecting pool.

The reflecting pool is located on the north side of the Law School library. The need for seasonal winterization caused the pool to be drained for a long portion of each academic year - creating an unsightly appearance of an empty basin. Our team led the development of conceptual alternatives for this renovation, eventually proceeding with a zero-depth reflecting pool that would mimic the Saarinen reflecting pool. 

Instead of an empty basin appearance in the winter, this pool would become a granite plaza flush with the surrounding paving.  Dark granite pavers give the appearance of a deep pool even though the water is only 1/4" deep. The final design respects the historic Saarinen design while appearing as a gracious plaza and forecourt during the off-season.