Chicago Architect ​May/June 2013 : Page 32

2013 SMALL PROJECT AWARDS AIA CHICAGO’S 3 RD ANNUAL SHOWCASE OF OUTSTANDING WORK When AIA Chicago rolled out the Small Project Awards program in 2011, the goal was to spotlight modestly-scaled structures that may have been overshadowed by the far larger projects that command many of the prizes in the decades-old Design Excellence Awards. It quickly became clear that while entrants in this newer awards program are, by defi nition, smaller, they cast their own large shadow in terms of technical innovation and style. The only limitation on entrants in this year’s competition was that the work be designed by fi rms with fewer than nine licensed architects and architecture interns. Project size and cost were not specifi ed; fi rms determined for themselves what constitutes a small project, and in turn, the jury could make its own determination. Chicago architects offered up 107 projects for consideration, and the jury of four architects and one design journalist winnowed the pack down to 15 awardees. All showcased on the following pages, they together evince a bold approach to building relatively small spaces. From a movie studio’s sleek, sophisticated offi ces to the harnessed lunacy of a wheeled end table, these projects may be small in size, but their appeal is big. JURORS: DIANA TYCHSEN BITTING , Editor, CS Interiors HOWARD HIRSCH, AIA , Hirsch Associates, LLC GREG METZ, AIA , Lott3 Metz Architecture; past president, AIA Michigan KATHRYN QUINN, AIA , Kathryn Quinn Architects RAVI RICKER, AIA , Wrap Architecture THANK YOU TO THE SMALL PROJECT AWARD SPONSORS: Architectural Artifacts Alpen Windows Community Home Supply Co. Inc. Double 3 Six Energy360 Solutions IMAGINiT Technologies Lurvey Landscape & Stone Supply Marvin Windows & Doors PAC clad/Petersen Aluminum Precision Stone Design Revolution Brewery Resysta Midwest Studio 41 TOTO USA, Inc. Urban Effects Cabinetry 32 Chicago Architect may | jun 2013

The 2013 Small Project Awards

AIA CHICAGO’S 3RD ANNUAL SHOWCASE OF OUTSTANDING WORK

When AIA Chicago rolled out the Small Project Awards program in 2011, the goal was to spotlight modestly-scaled structures that may have been overshadowed by the far larger projects that command many of the prizes in the decades-old Design Excellence Awards. It quickly became clear that while entrants in this newer awards program are, by definition, smaller, they cast their own large shadow in terms of technical innovation and style.

The only limitation on entrants in this year’s competition was that the work be designed by firms with fewer than nine licensed architects and architecture interns. Project size and cost were not specified; firms determined for themselves what constitutes a small project, and in turn, the jury could make its own determination.

Chicago architects offered up 107 projects for consideration, and the jury of four architects and one design journalist winnowed the pack down to 15 awardees. All showcased on the following pages, they together evince a bold approach to building relatively small spaces. From a movie studio’s sleek, sophisticated offices to the harnessed lunacy of a wheeled end table, these projects may be small in size, but their appeal is big.

JURORS:

DIANA TYCHSEN BITTING, Editor, CS Interiors

HOWARD HIRSCH, AIA, Hirsch Associates, LLC

GREG METZ, AIA, Lott3 Metz Architecture; past president, AIA Michigan

KATHRYN QUINN, AIA, Kathryn Quinn Architects

RAVI RICKER, AIA, Wrap Architecture


THANK YOU TO THE SMALL PROJECT AWARD SPONSORS:

Architectural Artifacts

Alpen Windows

Community Home Supply Co. Inc. Double 3 Six

Energy360 Solutions

IMAGINiT Technologies

Lurvey Landscape & Stone Supply

Marvin Windows & Doors

PAC clad/Petersen Aluminum

Precision Stone Design

Revolution Brewery

Resysta Midwest

Studio 41

TOTO USA, Inc.

Urban Effects Cabinetry


HONOR AWARD

Music Box Films

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: Shapiro Associates
CLIENT: Music Box Films
CONTRACTOR: Knudsen Construction, Inc

Home to the startup Music Box Films, an offshoot of the esteemed Music Box Theater, this West Loop loftstyle space makes new use of the site’s former lumberyard into a restyled, dynamic office. The project is a conversion of a 7,000-square-foot, two-story building into a single-story building with a mezzanine. The design, said to be inspired by the sci-fi film “Blade Runner,” makes use of the loft’s exposed structures and the building’s salvageable materials—including recycled lumber for furniture—to create a textured, yet airy workspace. The open-air loft plan encourages collaboration among workers and “expresses the features of the office,” said a juror. “The juxtaposition between modern and old—it’s exactly what ‘Blade Runner’ did,” added another juror.

Planted Environment

LOCATION: Geneva
DESIGN ARCHITECT: SIDE architecture
CLIENT: Withheld
CONTRACTOR: Harder Brothers Inc.

This $85,000 renovation transforms the lower level of a traditional suburban house into what the architect calls “a fluid arrangement of spaces.” A winding wall made up of 5,000 rectangular pieces of Baltic birch plywood is the focal point of the renovation, “creating space and acting as both screen and an object of art,” a juror said. Thanks to screening elements often found in the Eastern world, the indoor areas flow into one another while still allowing privacy to be maintained as light and air permeate the rooms. The wall’s woven texture mirrors the handcrafted water hyacinth furniture of the home, emphasizing what one juror said was “the artisan-made element that is so strong” throughout the project. Another juror simply stated, “The wall is brilliant.”

Treehouse Chapel

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: architectureisfun inc.
CLIENT: St Chrysostom’s Day School
CONTRACTOR: Hylan Design

An unused second-floor chapel at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church gained new life as a purposeful place with an infusion of bold, colorful takeoffs on the building’s familiar Gothic architecture. The tracery, arches, peekaboo quatrefoils and candlestick fixtures all signal that this 6,855-square-foot multipurpose space is a companion to the more formal sanctuary and other traditional-use rooms, but with an emphasis on playfulness. “It’s fun, but you pick up that it’s a church,” one juror said. The loft play space and Tinkertoy-like trees create a haven for kids, while adult programs can also fit comfortably into the clear, uncluttered main space. The architects integrated smart flooring, blackout drapes and energy-efficient lights and fans into a project that a judge pronounced “lovable.”

Art Studio in the Woods

LOCATION: Aurora
DESIGN ARCHITECT: David Genc
CLIENT: Private
CONTRACTOR: Sumac, Inc

“It’s very poetic in its simplicity,” a juror said of this studio that draws its inspiration from turn-of-thecentury corn cribs that stand near the site. “There’s such lightness to that structure in the wooded setting.” Jurors appreciated the building’s ability to echo both the verticality of the trees on the site and the horizontality of corn cribs and agricultural land. Its relationship to the setting is not only aesthetic. Rather than trench a foundation, the architect specified a foundation of corner concrete piers supporting beams that float half an inch above the soil; this lets trees that are within a few feet of the structure continue to thrive and provide shade to the rooftop observatory. The open slats of the corn crib create a rainscreen on the exterior and allow light and sightlines to penetrate the structure from inside to out and vice versa. “It’s very elegantly detailed for such a small structure,” a juror said.

Lakeside Studio

LOCATION: Lakeside, Mich.
DESIGN ARCHITECT: Tigerman McCurry Architects
CLIENT: Mr. & Mrs. Lynn & Eva Maddox
CONTRACTOR: Powalski and Associates

This new 400-square-foot building adjacent to an older weekend home combines a garage and art studio. The studio is a 12-by-12-foot room beneath a charming tower and is walled in maple fin ply complemented with strong ambient lighting and uplighting atop the cross-bracing. The exterior has a Port Orford cedar rainscreen punctuated by several windows and set into a meticulous landscape. Inside and outside, one of the jurors observed, “every little detail has been thought about.” “It’s a little jewel box.” Summer cooling of the studio is by crossventilation and a ceiling fan, and winter heat is from electric baseboard units. Those “add to the coziness that the size dictates,” a juror said. The jurors spoke admiringly of the sort of experience that creating art in such a space would be.


CITATION OF MERIT

Historic Wicker Park 2-Flat Conversion and Modern Addition

LOCATION: Chicago
ARCHITECT: dSPACE Studio
CLIENT: George Menninger & Ann Cheeseman
CONTRACTOR: Z&V Home Improvement

This update of an 1880s Italianate home “brings a modern and industrial aesthetic to a historical setting,” one juror said. Setting out to design a modern-day orangerie—a glass-enclosed conservatory—the architects seamlessly integrated old brick and modern steel. An ambitious program that called for a great room, limestone patio and rooftop deck, the twostory addition attached to the rear of the home also brings the outside in, with a 17-foot glass hangar door that opens into the backyard. A hanging FireOrb inside the great room can be rotated outwards, becoming an outdoor fireplace. A steel staircase runs from the interior to the exterior, connecting to a rooftop deck with a hot tub, native grasses and a vegetable garden. The project “makes the entire standard city lot your home,” a juror said. Jurors also took notice of the numerous green elements throughout the addition, including LED lighting, rainwater collection and drought-tolerant plants.

Articulated Pods

LOCATION: Chicago
ARCHITECT: Blender Architecture LLC
CLIENT: Martha and John Kramer
CONTRACTOR: WB Construction

A gut renovation of a 3,600-square-foot penthouse on the top floor of a five-unit building in Wicker Park, this project creates a series of “pods,” each intended for a specific use. The pods function as independent boxes that treat the building’s exterior walls as a shell. Only touching the exterior masonry walls with glass, the pods work together to create a light-filled living space. A reveal along the ceiling plane of each pod emphasizes its form, which one juror noted was an impressive “attention to detail and function.” With the division between public and private spaces softened by the “open flow between living, bathing, playing and sleeping areas,” one juror acknowledged the difficulty of successfully executing the concept. But because of the integration of the pods through glass walls, sliding partitions and a main circulation space, the juror thought the project “well thought-out for a difficult concept to pull off.”

Unit 4906

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: SIDE architecture
CLIENT: Withheld

This remodel of a studio apartment in the John Hancock Center shows how much one can do with only 450 square feet and $45,000. Taking inspiration from the dramatic views of the city’s skyline and Lake Michigan that the unit’s north-facing aperture offers, the remodel attempts to mirror, in the words of the architect, the city’s “sculptural interweaving of form and space” in the interior. Slate flooring used in the narrow entrance creates the illusion of depth, while one juror paid particular attention to “the simple organizing device of the kitchen space, implied by the form of the ceiling.” Metal panels conceal kitchen cabinets to reinforce the uncluttered design of the unit, while attention is drawn to the unit’s west wall, reserved to display the client’s art. The collection of two-sided lithographs is wall-mounted on hinged frames, allowing the viewer to interact with the art and easily change the display. “Given the budget, they did something very impressive” with the space, a juror said. Another juror added, “This is all about minimalism and maximizing space.”

Locomobile Lofts

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: SIDE architecture
CLIENT: Locomobile Lofts Condo Association

When this former commercial building on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s historic Motor Row was converted to residential lofts in the early 2000s, its entrance space was treated in a way that didn’t seem to reflect the building’s hard-edged location or industrial history, according to the architects who were tapped to update the space in 2010. The new iteration uses perforated Baltic birch plywood cladding on the interior and gigantic backlit address numbers, and new, bolder light fixtures and floor and wall finishes to signal a more urban experience to residents and guests immediately on arrival. “There’s an animation of the public spaces that could otherwise have been a very banal experience,” a juror said. The perforations that appear both outside and inside the lobby “bring the interior common space out onto the public sidewalk,” another said.

Guest House

LOCATION: Lakeside, Mich.
DESIGN ARCHITECT: SMNG-A Architects Ltd.
CLIENT: Withheld
CONTRACTOR: SMNG-A Architects Ltd.

The chamfered corner of this Michigan guest house was inspired by an Anselm Kiefer painting, and jurors feel that it was executed here with artistry. “It celebrates the corner that is missing,” one said. Although it was accomplished by turning the structure 90 degrees on its foundation, “it’s not just a structural movement,” that juror said. “The stairs are there, and they’re beautiful.” The removed corners also provide an unusual aperture for light to enter the interior. The 400-square-foot guest house is the third building in a small compound that began with an 1,100-square-foot main house in 1986. It has a two-story entry space with sleeping, laundry and bathroom areas; and a second level with a study and more sleeping space. A south-facing window, high-value insulation and other energy-sipping features ensure that the building is as light on resources as it appears to be on its footprint.

DuPage A.M.E. Chapel and Administration Wing

LOCATION: Lisle
DESIGN ARCHITECT: Harding Partners
CLIENT: DuPage A.M.E. Church
CONTRACTOR: Moreton Construction Company

From a Mondrian-esque window arrangement in the chapel to a solar shade that feels like a pop-up window covering to a gold, brown and black color scheme that references common colors in African art, the details of this expansion of an African Methodist Episcopal church delighted the jurors. “The composition of every elevation is beautiful,” said a juror, “and the elevations turn corners; it’s not just planar.” The structure includes a chapel, a children’s church, a fellowship hall and offices, all with a high level of transparency that emphasizes the welcome that congregants want to convey to visitors and each other. The new building structure attaches to an existing structure, and at the same time connects to its wooded setting via both the openness of the fenestration and exposed wood roof decking and wood veneer millwork. “There’s an elegance to every decision we can see,” a juror said.

Seeley Residence

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: Wilkinson Design Corporation
CLIENT: Peter Del Castillo
CONTRACTOR: Cuzco Construction

This takeoff on a classic Chicago home style bridges the earlier and present-day incarnations of Roscoe Village, a traditional neighborhood with a new 21st-century population. Situated on a standard city lot with an alley in the back, the home has a rear façade whose multiple bays and projection allow for natural lighting while at the same time maintaining privacy. And in front, a cantilevered second floor creates a columnless front porch, a clever riff on a traditional touch. “I like the way the front elevation deconstructs a little bit,” one juror said. “It’s a bungalow, but it’s not.” Inside is a two-anda- half-story living space that the architect describes as a “volumetric surprise” and a juror pronounced “fantastic.” Sustainable features—salvaged engineered lumber for fireplace cladding, geothermal heating, a super-insulated exterior wall and a cement-panel rainscreen—enhance the building’s desirability for today’s homeowners.

The Very Expensive Refrigerator

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: Kuklinski + Rappe Architects
CLIENT: Scott & Grace Rappe
CONTRACTOR: Kuklinski + Rappe Architects

A pair of architects just wanted to replace their old refrigerator, but they found the necessary add-ons cascading one after another: A new refrigerator would mean modifying the adjacent countertop, which would demand a new sink, and so on. The result is a very handsome contemporary kitchen that wooed the jurors not so much with its all-too-familiar story but with its loft-like good looks. Each component—the under-counter oven, the sleek high-volume hood, the sink and drainboard welded to the 44-inch stainless steel countertop—contributed its own flair to an inviting finished look. “There’s a lot there for the tight budget,” said one juror, echoing the architect’s description of the job: “At $15,000, it was a cheap kitchen, but a very expensive refrigerator.”

Denim Wall

LOCATION: Chicago
DESIGN ARCHITECT: Wilkinson Design Corporation
CLIENT: Denim Lounge
CONTRACTOR: Wilkinson Blender Construction

It may curve like a form-fitted pair of jeans, but this flowing plywood system of cubbies is missing something that is characteristic of denim pants: zippers, rivets or any other fasteners. The architects’ exercise in form-making and digital fabrication included a pre-cut notch system, so assembly required no mechanical fasteners. Judges complimented that technical feat, as well as the alluring curvaceousness of the object itself. “It’s fluid and dynamic and you move with it,” one said. Another said that “it turns a counter and checkout desk into an organic object that makes the customer experience different from anywhere else.” And a third noted that “the hardest part of a curvilinear shape is how it terminates. This is well done as it extends the cantilever out and then disintegrates as it goes up.”

Equilibrium

LOCATION: Chicago
ARCHITECT: The Archi/Build Group, Inc.
CLIENT: Anna Bellini
CONTRACTOR: The Archi/Build Group, Inc.

Instantly summoning images of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, this clever cocktail table elicited smiles from the judges, and affectionate exclamations when they learned that it was built for $350. The table, 24 inches high, gets its balance from principles of the Taolu form of Tai Chi; it leverages the force of gravity through its center, coupling that with a rolling “free” connection to the earth in order to remain erect. Much of it is made of milled steel; the black rubber wheels are available commercially and were modified for a more slender profile. As one juror said, “It’s very Dada-esque.”

Read the full article at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/The+2013+Small+Project+Awards/1380230/155683/article.html.

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