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Hartshorne Plunkard receives two top AIA Illinois prizes

by Joe Zekas on 5/29/13

Yesterday’s email included the following news release form Hartshorne Plunkard regarding AIA Illinois’ 2013 Honor Awards. We’ve paid visits to both of the projects, and you can have a closer look at them in the above videos.

Two projects by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) have received top prizes at the 2013 Honor Awards presented by AIA Illinois.

The evening’s highest project honor, the Louis Sullivan Award, went to Randolph Tower in Chicago. This adaptive reuse project successfully transformed the landmarked Steuben Club Building into a mixed-use residential community within the heart of Chicago’s Theater District.

At 463-feet tall, the circa 1929 building is one of the city’s tallest terra cotta-clad towers, with ornate buttresses, arches and gargoyles that render it an exquisite example of Gothic Revival architecture. Originally designed to house offices, retail stores and a private German social club, the building was shut down by city officials in 2001 because of hazardous conditions presented by falling terra-cotta debris. The building lay dormant for more than a decade before its adaptive reuse into a mixed-use development with 313 mixed-income apartments, retail storefronts, and commercial office space.

“The jury recognized the daunting challenges of the rehabilitation of Randolph Tower and was impressed by its ambitious scale and complexity,” said Brandy Koch, 2013 AIA Illinois President, who convened the national jury and served as an ex officio member.

By reviving a skyscraper that is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and a Chicago Landmark, the project team preserved a key chapter of the city’s architectural history, all while overcoming complex coordination challenges and meeting an aggressive 24-month schedule

Paul Alessandro, a partner at HPA, accepted the Sullivan Award alongside HPA’s Director of Interior Design, George Valdez. Alessandro told the audience, “This project was 13 years in the making, and getting it completed took one of the most amazing public-private partnerships ever assembled. Both of us will be proud of this project for the rest of our careers.”

HPA won a second award, the Crombie Taylor Honor Award, for the Hairpin Lofts and Hairpin Arts Center in Chicago. The Crombie Taylor Award recognizes a project that, through preservation and restoration, has enhanced the natural and built environments of a community.

This rehabilitation of the former Morris B. Sachs Building converted a commercial office and retail structure into a multi-use development with a 6,000 SF community arts center, 7,000 SF of retail storefronts, and 28 loft apartments, with all but three units dedicated as affordable housing. Listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and a Chicago Landmark, the circa 1929 flatiron building is distinctive for its triangular footprint and the camel logo of the building’s original occupant, the Hump Hair Pin Manufacturing Company, that adorns the decorative exterior panels and lobby floor.

The LEED Gold certified project features rooftop solar panels that provide heat for domestic hot water; ground-source heat-pump wells; a high-performance building envelope; and a green roof. It stands as an example of the success possible in blending mixed-income housing, historic preservation, environmental sustainability, and a commitment to neighborhood revitalization and the arts.

AIA Illinois presented five Honor Awards for service and five awards for design at a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield on Friday, April 12. The national jury chose from 90 total nominations representing the best work by Illinois architects.

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