"Big Shoulders" Design
Borrowing from Carl Sandburg’s evocation of Chicago as the “City of the Big Shoulders,” Walter Netsch designed “big shoulders” into his most prominent campus structure. Viewed from the east and west sides, University Hall expands as it rises, measuring 150 feet wide up to floor eight, 160 feet wide from floor 9 to 16, and 170 feet wide from floor 17 to 28. A series of cantilevers makes this unusual design possible. Seen from the north and south ends, the building width remains constant. Enormous columns at ground level support the weight of University Hall.