731 South Plymouth Court was built in 1897 by Howard Van Doren Shaw, best known for his work on many of the palatial residences that grace Chicago’s Gold Coast and the North Shore suburbs. Originally called the Lakeside Press Building, this eight-story red brick building with limestone ornamentation was erected as a printing house for the R.R. Donnelley Publishing Company. The first and second floors were used for showrooms and editorial offices, respectively. Printing took place on the fourth through sixth floors, which are strongly articulated by massive brick piers. Family offices were on the seventh and eighth floors. Subsequent owners are unknown. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Loop Printing House District in 1978 and in 1985 it was converted to residential use as the Lakeside Loft Apartments. In 1993 Columbia College acquired the building as its first residence hall. It currently houses over 300 students.


The Lakeside Press Building, now the Columbia College Dormitory, is a seven story reinforced concrete frame building clad in red brick and trimmed in Indiana limestone on its two principal facades. The other two elevations are faced with common brick. It is crowned with a very low, broadly proportioned gable roof that runs parallel to Plymouth Court. Its principal facades, facing Plymouth Court and Polk Street, display a unique combination of stylistic influences, from the tall Romanesque-inspired arches of each bay to the classically derived quoins and voussoirs on the first two floors and the Craftsman style detailing in brick and stone that appears on the upper floors and over the portals. The dominant feature is the arcade of windows on the seventh floor, which stand atop vertical piers that extend from the third to the sixth floors. The horizontals are broken by the verticals, and the spandrels above the third, fourth, and fifth floors are cast iron panels set behind the plane of the piers.

Quick Facts

  • Name: Columbia College Dormitory
  • Address: 731 South Plymouth Court
  • Size: 196 feet x 99 feet, 7 stories
  • Architect:
    • Howard Van Doren Shaw, 1896-1897 and 1902
    • Additional architects: William Adams Company, 1980
    • Residential architects: Michael Lisec & Fritz Biederman, 1980
  • Original Name: Lakeside Press Building
  • Subsequent Names:
    • Plymouth Pole Building
    • RR Donnelley Building
    • Triangle Publishing Building
    • Lakeside Loft Apartments
  • Acquired by College: 1993
  • Original Building Type: Manufacturing
  • Style: Romanesque Revival

Information taken from the 2005 Campus Preservation Plan.