The 618 South Michigan Avenue building was designed by architect William Carbys Zimmerman in 1913. Known as the Arcade Building, the 10-story building sported a grid-like façade with large windows and minimal masonry and housed specialty shops, photographers, publishers and the American Red Cross. The seventh floor of this building was also home to Columbia College from 1927 until 1936 when it was associated with the Pestalozzi Froebel Teachers’ College.

In the early 1950s, the building served as the Midwestern Regional offices of IBM Corporation and in 1958, the original terra cotta façade was removed and replaced with a modern curtain wall by the architectural firm McClurg Shoemaker McClurg for IBM.

In 1974 it became home to The Spertus Institute from whom Columbia College Chicago purchased the building in 2006 to use for classrooms, a gallery, study collections, an event space and a learning center.

In 2010, the City of Chicago determined that the 1950s-era façade had to be replaced for safety reasons. The new glass curtain façade was designed by the architectural firm Gensler, using a digital ceramic printing technique that shows an image of the original terra cotta façade etched into the surface of the glass.

Quick Facts

  • Name: 618 South Michigan Avenue
  • Address: 618 S. Michigan Avenue
  • Size: 105,000 square feet, 10-stories
  • Architect: William Carbys Zimmerman
  • Original Name: Arcade Building
  • Acquired by College: 2006