The Main Quadrangle was designed by architect Henry Ives Cobb, with many elements in place by the 1910s. Many of the Gothic buildings were among these early features, including Rosenwald Hall, which provides the height for this bird’s eye view north over the quad and toward downtown Chicago on the horizon. Today, Chicago’s downtown skyscrapers, about nine miles north of Hyde Park, are part of this view, as is construction on the Campus North Residence Hall and Dining Commons at 55th Street and University Avenue, due for completion in 2016.
The earliest designs for the Main Quadrangle emphasized the importance of having a large green space in the center of the Gothic buildings. With a continued focus on enhancing the gardens, the American Public Garden Association designated the 215 acres of green space in the Main Quadrangle a Botanic Garden in 1997.
In addition to being a place of reflection, study, socializing, and relaxation for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, the Main Quadrangle is the site of the outdoor Spring Convocation, with chairs for graduating students and families filling the central lawn.