The preservation of historic buildings is among the most sustainable practices that can be undertaken. What began as an ADA entrance project, became a reverse-engineered master plan to unite the 100 year-old campus through accessibility, to preserve unique architectural features, and to maximize the significant embodied energy of the existing building and systems to serve the community for the next 100 years.
The new work retained and expanded the over-sized heating system to serve the new two story lobby structure and loggia. The existing electrical service was carefully evaluated and maintained while adding a new four-stop elevator and limited air-conditioning to the facility. A daylight dimming system and extensive low-glare northern exposure glazing were employed to bring daylight deep into the building, to reduce energy consumption, and to improve the working environment of the building occupants. The new work also employed an energy efficient envelope and low-VOC paints and finishes.
St. Clement and the Archdiocese of Chicago engaged the design team to develop a new barrier-free entrance to their 100 year old church and parish center rectory buildings. The rectory buildings are located within the Arlington Deming Landmark District of Chicago, requiring sensitivity to the architectural features and neighborhood context. In support of both context and St. Clement’s mission of unity and inclusiveness, the architectural solution employs a ‘light touch’ approach that quietly unifies the disparate elements of the campus.
By carefully sculpting the elevated front yard, a gentle transition was created to a new lower-level entrance, preserving all architectural features of the original structures. A modern vocabulary of simply expressed stained oak, weathering steel, and architectural concrete contrasts with the original limestone, terra cotta, and copper. A new two-story lobby, fully concealed from street view, is nestled behind the historic loggia between the church and rectory buildings.
The new lobby provides access to a new elevator, transition ramps and stair that connect and unite various levels of the church and rectory buildings. A two-story glass wall provides views to the landscaped courtyard and introduces soft, north light deep into the lobby and basement spaces.
The embodied energy of the building and systems were leveraged to provide heating, cooling and power to the new entrance, lobby and elevator without upgrading existing utility services. The project employed an energy efficient envelope, low VOC paints, and durable finishes with the goal of serving St. Clement for the next 100 years.
SMNG A Ltd.