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The Renovation of a Modernist Architectural Icon

Chicago, IL — May 16, 2005 —

S.R. Crown Hall, The Mies van der Rohe National Historic Landmark and one of "the world's most influential, inspiring and astonishing structures" (as described in Time magazine's "Great Buildings of the World," July 2004), will undergo an extensive renovation beginning tomorrow. The renovation will be marked by the shattering of a pane of glass by architect Dirk Lohan, Mies van der Rohe's grandson, who won the chance to shatter the glass with a $2705 bid on eBay. The ceremonial glass shattering will take place at 5:30 p.m. on May 17 at Crown Hall, 3360 S. State Street.

  • Crown Hall is the self-described "clearest embodiment" of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's architectural philosophy and a pre-eminent form-giver to 20th century architects
  • Mies' masterwork, an icon of Modernism on the campus of Illinois Institute of Technology, is the foundation of the international style
  • One-of-a-kind in design, construction engineering, materials and purpose, it is a universal and collaborative space in which to educate architects
  • Recipient of both National Historic Landmark and Chicago Landmark status


The Renovation: Beginning with the shattering of glass, the project will consist of a curtain wall restoration and renovation. This includes the following steps: removal of existing glazing and steel stops; sandblast removal of all lead-based paint from interior and exterior steel; repairs to corroding steel; refurbishment and reactivation of louvers; refurbishment of select steel stops with new replacement stops as required; recoating (painting) of steel, stops, and louvers; disassembling and retrofitting with electromagnetic release hardware; and refurbishing of original Ellison stainless steel doors on north and south facades. Work will comply with current building codes and will adhere as closely as possible to the original appearance of Crown Hall.


Restoration Photos


S.R. Crown Hall History:

1956 Crown Hall is completed as part of Mies' Campus Master Plan to house IIT's College of Architecture; Mies serves as director from 1938 until 1958.
1956 - 1970 IIT and the College of Architecture serve as users and caretakers of Crown Hall.
1970 - 1977 Alterations, modifications and compulsory repairs are made sporadically to Crown Hall; financial constraints preclude comprehensive repair and maintenance.
1996 Funds from the IIT Challenge Campaign are earmarked for first phase of Crown Hall restoration.
1997 Fujikawa Johnson and Associates and Krueck & Sexton are retained to assess and propose solutions to Crown Hall's problem areas.
Their report documents the widely recognized fact that extensive work is required to bring Crown Hall up to present-day standards and preserve it for use by future generations. Crown Hall is granted Landmark status by the City of Chicago.
2001 Crown Hall is granted National Historic Landmark status.
2002 IIT initiates a major capital campaign to fund restoration of Crown Hall, and in time, other key buildings in Mies' Master Plan.
Summer 2002 Restoration begins including: upgrades to electrical and data wiring, and wood paneling; renovation of the main level student studio desk set-ups and storage lockers; and an upgrade of the lower core Thesis & Doctoral Student Lab.
Summer 2003 Rebuilding of Crown Hall's iconic front entry, the South Porch.
Summer 2004 Toilet rooms renovated, restored and modified for ADA accessibility.


Project Team:

Donna V. Robertson, Dean, College of Architecture, IIT
Terry Frigo, Director, Design & Construction, Department of Facilities, IIT
Jan Rogatz, Owner's Representative Project Manager, Cotter Consulting, Inc.
Ron Krueck, Mark Sexton, Tim Tracey, Rico Cedro, Krueck & Sexton Architects
T. Gunny Harboe, AIA, Doug Gilbert, AIA, Austin AECOM, Preservation architects and engineers
Patrick Bellew, Nico Kienzl, Atelier Ten, Energy experts
Matthias Schuler, Transsolar Energietechnik Gmbh, Energy experts
Mark Penz, Kirkegaard Associates, Acoustical consultant
Jim Baney, Schuler Shook, Lighting consultant
Peter Schaudt, Peter Lindsay Schaudt Landscape Architecture, Inc.
Tom Vannatta, Mandeep Singh, E Cube, Inc., Commissioning agents
Thomas Gentry, Peter Land, George Schipporeit, Arthur Takeuchi, IIT Faculty members
Hans Frey, Seele L.P. Glass, USA

Web Resources: web.iit.edu | mies.iit.edu

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