Chicago Architect November/December 2012 : Page 22

2012 DISTINGUISHED BUILDING AWARDS Photography by Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing ARCHITECT: John Ronan Architects CLIENT: Poetry Foundation CONTRACTOR: Norcon, Inc. CONSULTANTS: U.S. Equities Realty, dbHMS, Arup, Terra Engineering, Reed Hilderbrand Associates, Charter Sills, Threshold Acoustics LLC HONOR AWARD POETRY FOUNDATION CHICAGO Conceived as a haven for the makers and consumers of a precious literary art form, the building proceeds much like a reader’s growing comprehension of a poem. It begins with a fi nely crafted, inviting exterior and draws visitors in through a beautifully rendered garden, and beyond into an interior fi lled with light. Jurors applauded the environmentally sustainable building as a complete composition. The transparency of the exterior screen of oxidized zinc “is not for its own sake, but a veil that really reveals the purpose of the building with the books seen inside,” a juror noted. From that fi rst moment of viewing, visitors “sense the restraint that is in place here,” a juror said. “The articulation of an idea with blurred spaces and a material palette is splendid,” another said. Another said simply, “It’s transcendent.” Photo by Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing ARCHITECT: Wheeler Kearns Architects A widowed grandmother who entertains family often and also collects art wanted a “cheap and cheerful” home that would welcome both. The plan is divided into nine 24-foot bays, with one left open to the sky. A passerby would read the home as visually quiet, opaque volume, low-slung and clad in fi ber-cement panels. They wouldn’t see that behind one pivoting door lies a courtyard, and that the home within is crisply organized, its details handled meticulously. “It’s not a very expensive house, but it’s so very well executed,” a juror said. “They know they have sharp materials, and they use them well.” The material palette is largely limited to grey cement panels, white gypsum board, American walnut and a few others; the intent, according to the architects, being to form a background for the art, grandchildren and landscape that are the cherished foreground elements here. CLIENT: Private CONTRACTOR: Goldberg General Contracting CONSULTANTS: Sherry Koppel Design, Schmechtig Landscapes Inc., Enspect Engineering CITATION OF MERIT NINE SQUARE NORTHBROOK, ILLINOIS 22 Chicago Architect nov | dec 2012

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