Carissa Davis Promoted to Controller

2021 PH Pumpkin Carving Contest

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2021 PH PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST


The annual PH pumpkin carving contest is here!

A time when PH architects get to reminisce on the long grueling hours in architecture school making models with an X-Acto knife in hand, realizing that architecture school did in fact prepare us for the real world: carving the best pumpkin on the block!

Check out the winning pumpkins from this year and all other honorable mentions!

Happy Halloween!


1st Place Winner - Baby Yoda

Team Members: Michael Henning, Justin Palmer


2nd Place Winner - Mummy

Team Members: Greg Klosowski, Robert Harris, Chris Chiu


3rd Place Winner - Puffer Fish

Team Members: David A. Haymes, Kathryn Katz


Honorable Mentions! (All Others)

354 North Union Project Progress

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354 NORTH UNION PROJECT PROGRESS


Construction of the 32-story, 373-unit apartment tower is in full swing with the building’s progress prominently visible from the Kennedy Expressway. The development replaces a formerly vacant lot in Fulton River district at the northeast corner of Chicago’s popular West Loop. The residential apartment tower will join three other PH-designed buildings in the area and share borders with K2 Apartments - a PH-designed residential building completed in 2013.

The narrow rectangular site is bound by K2 Apartments to the north and train lines to the south. An overpass bridge off of North Halsted Street will serve as the main entry point to the building with two ground-level access routes to the parking garage. A new North Union Avenue cul-de-sac will be incorporated into the program with an auxiliary garage exit at the west end of the site under North Halsted Street and onto North Green Street.

PH Project Team: Jeff Renterghem, Cesar Chavez (PM), Georgi Todorov


August 25, 2021 - Construction update


June 25, 2021 - Site readies for foundation work


May 11, 2021 - Project site before construction

40 Years in 40 Seconds

An Urban Project: 465 North Park

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AN URBAN PROJECT: 465 NORTH PARK


Three key factors needed to be addressed at the site of 465 North Park: the built environment, the natural environment, and the social context. The project is sited in the city’s prestigious Streeterville neighborhood at the gateway to one of Chicago’s most famous tourist destinations, Navy Pier. The city block that the building is located borders the Chicago River to the South, Lake Michigan and the Ogden Slip to the East, and North Columbus Drive, one of nine routes that link the northern and southern halves of the city, flanks the block to the West. Surrounding the site is historic architecture and commercial buildings, including the modern Loews Tower and the Chicago Tribune Tower whose view corridor restricted the height of construction on the southern portion of the site.

“The elegantly curved facades of the elliptical towers provide visual relief (as opposed to harsh corners) by opening up sightlines past the building in all directions towards iconic buildings (built environment) and towards the lake (natural environment).” - Christopher Chiu

The chosen plan was one derived from an overlay of three ellipses. Christopher Chiu, who was an integral part of the CD and CA stages of the project, remarks, “the elegantly curved facades of the elliptical towers provide visual relief (as opposed to harsh corners) by opening up sightlines past the building in all directions towards iconic buildings (built environment) and towards the lake (natural environment).” This approach engaged the rectangular Loews Tower as a more organic counterpart. Its slender profile pushed to the corner made 465 North Park seem the taller of the pair from some angles. The elliptical plans were overlaid and canted in a way that conserves the Tribune Tower’s sightlines, allows for sweeping panoramic views in all directions, and admits natural light across the entire depth of the floor plates. The full-height window walls reflect the immediate context, thereby further reducing the appearance of a visual obstruction when viewed from the exterior.

At a social level, 465 North Park receives heavy foot traffic from those who work in the city as well as tourists. With the north facade of the building base making up a part of the street wall that leads to Navy Pier, there was an opportunity for visual as well as physical interaction between the building and the pedestrians. The elliptical form of the tower flows down to the front, southwest corner of the site, allowing the tower to engage the street and bring focus to the first floor retail spaces. The tower masses are thoughtfully pulled back from the property lines above the 4-story podium to divert its imposing height from the street level. An internal parking lot rising five stories inside the core is screened from view by residential units wrapping the lower floors along the two primary street fronts. Heather Faircloth designed the laminated dwellings on the face of the garage podium which both hides the parking garage and creates active space above the retail that further strengthens the urban connection. The 2-story loft-style townhome units just under the 6th-floor amenity deck are high enough off the ground to reduce noise from the city and still enjoy people watching on the street below. These units at the base of the building are some of the most expensive and sought-after rentals in the development.

Exchanges within the building mass are also treated as an extension of the social context. Interaction is encouraged through the open floor plans of the nearly one acre of interior and exterior amenity spaces spread over three different levels. The amenity spaces include lounges in both expansive and intimate settings, a business center, conference room, demonstration kitchen and dining room, swimming pool, and lushly landscaped gardens. Replete with high-end finishes and details, Christopher Chiu notes how "the amenity draws residents to linger, socialize or explore while soaking up the views on all sides.” Despite the sprawling size of the main amenity deck on the 6th floor, residents get a sense of being cradled inside the urban context with a direct connection to the city. The niche dining and grilling stations, fire pits and planters scattered throughout the amenity decks also provide semi-confined spaces for smaller-scale interactions without giving up the views.

PH Projects Along Chicago’s Popular 606 Trail

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PH PROJECTS ALONG CHICAGO'S POPULAR 606 TRAIL


Summer is in full swing and Chicago's 606 Trail is once again a popular course for runners, bikers, and those looking for a place to walk off a big meal from one of the many trendy restaurants in the area. PH has been involved in the transformation of the Wicker Park neighborhood since long before the 606 Trail opened in 2015 and it's incredible to see how much (or little) has changed over time! Check out the Google Maps below to see the PH project locations!

1847 N Humboldt Project Highlight

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CENTURY-OLD CHURCH TRANSFORMED INTO ONE-OF-A-KIND APARTMENTS


Churches regularly dot the corners along historic Humboldt Boulevard, yet rarely are they found mid-block as is the church serving as the anchor for this project. The unique siting of 1847 N. Humboldt presented a challenge - how to preserve the valuable character and architectural integrity of a neighborhood landmark and transform it into a modern residential building - all while working within the constraints of the site's infill location mid-block.

The site previously had a parking lot on the boulevard which, in effect, was a visual missing tooth along the otherwise uniform street-wall of residential buildings lining the block. One of the first moves was to relocate parking to the alley which then made it possible for a new addition to close this gap at the street. The reimagined structure is in three parts. The first being the former church structure which contains 6 dwellings. The second, a new annex in the place of the parking lot, matches the setback of the church's facade and adds an additional 9 units. The third, a glassy central spine, set-back slightly from the others, serves as both the main entry as well as primary circulation for the residents.

Visually, the church is the focus, with the annex serving as a strong, quiet partner. The form of the annex takes its cues from the proportion and rhythm found at the church, but the detailing is simplified and it utilizes darker, more uniform materials in order to highlight the lighter, more ornate limestone facade of the church. The light-filled spine allows all residents to benefit from the character of the church - as it’s located along the church wall, with exposed stained glass and views along the church’s side facade from all levels. A window on the third floor facing the rear, along with the double-height glazing at the front washes the vaulted space with natural light and views from both directions.

Project Architect: Jon Young

Georgi Todorov Recognized at International Design Competition – Low-Rise LA

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GEORGI TODOROV RECOGNIZED AT INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION - LOW-RISE LA


Earlier this year, several PH staff members entered in the Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles Design Challenge, proposing urban residential design and planning solutions for various Los Angeles neighborhood contexts. Four PH teams took on this challenge to engage in imaginative thinking and derive targeted solutions for affordability, quality of life, and community enhancement.

Georgi Todorov and Petya Petrova's ABC (Affordable Back Cottage) proposal was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the Subdivision category with the jury stating their proposal “...has the potential to produce housing solutions for Los Angeles with wide impact”.

Georgi’s active engagement in creative, thoughtful solutions for our diverse urban environments are at the heart of his body of work - both in his work at PH and in his engagement through outlets such as Low-Rise LA. We are thrilled Georgi has received this well-deserved recognition and proud of the great work by all of the teams from PH.

Click on the links below to see all PH submissions!


The ABC (Affordable Back Cottage)

Team Members: Georgi Todorov, Petya Petrova

Honorable Mention, Subdivision Category

Despite being the smallest structure, we believe the subdivision category will have the biggest impact globally on LA while keeping existing buildings intact. Property owners would have the opportunity to sell land and generate savings, while lower-income individuals would have the opportunity to get significantly more affordable homes by investing in a small piece of land with existing infrastructure. Following the recommendations from the community engagement listening sessions, our proposal strays from too modern of a look in order to avoid the sense of gentrification and displacement in the community. Without focusing on a particular site, our design merges seamlessly in the wide variety of sub-characteristics of the different LA lower-income neighborhoods.

Go to Georgi's design submission >


Daybreak

Team Members: Peter Evanich

Fourplex Category

DAYBREAK seeks to reintroduce nature into low-income developments by providing a communal courtyard that can be programmed by the residents. This outdoor space can be arranged in a multitude of ways including a barbecue and lounge or shared micro-farm. Three of the four units look directly onto this shared space, while the fourth unit gets a direct view of the street and front yard. The plantings in the front yard soften the street facade and provide shade along the sidewalk, contributing to a cooler local climate.

Go to Peter's design submission >


Modern Bungalow Courtyard

Team Members: Greg Klosowski

Corners Category

This proposal is a modern reinterpretation of a classic southern California typology, the bungalow courtyard. The approach takes a classic layout with a shared circulation and community space and adapts it to provide a variety of unit types and sizes. This permits a broader cross-section of neighbors, from affordable to missing-middle, to market rate, who would make this development their homes. This also places great importance on the central landscaped circulation, fostering greater resident interaction and connectivity through shared areas for exercise, outdoor dining, and gardening.

Go to Greg's design submission >


The Common

Team Members: David Mata, Adam Lavey, Georgi Todorov

Fourplex Category

The COMMON is a contextual courtyard development that introduces a higher density model that can be utilized in many different neighborhoods. It strives to address affordable housing needs by empowering an aspect of communal living within its own milieux. The intent is to connect to city infrastructure in a flexible and social manner.

Go to The Common team's design submission >

Flats on Federal Project Progress

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ARMOUR INSTITUTE ADAPTIVE REUSE PROJECT PROGRESS


Armour Institute is the iconic red brick building that can be seen from the I-90 Expressway just before entering downtown Chicago from the south. Opened in 1893, the historic building would eventually become a part of the renowned Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT, Illinois Tech) campus where it continued to serve administrative duties until being closed in 2007. The Armour Institute of Technology began as a manual training school teaching under one roof architecture, engineering, industrial arts, physical ed, and the nation's first fire protection engineering courses, resulting in a structure as varied as its curriculum. In 2017, private developers purchased the building with a plan to convert the building for residential use. New fire protection systems, masonry repairs, and structural reinforcing are a part of the program for building wide repairs and upgrades. Upon completion, Armour Institute will adopt a new name, the Flats on Federal, and will include 102 market-rate and affordable units as wel as resident amenities. The Chicago Landmark building will continue to serve local residents and the IIT neighborhood as a viable housing option available to students and non-students alike.

Project Team: Kenneth DeMuth, Christopher Woodfin, Elliot Schwarz


May 6, 2021 - The Plan Review Committee of the Landmarks Division of the Department of Planning for the City of Chicago approves proposed plans for adaptive reuse of the former Armour Institute building.

Armour Institute


January 15, 2021 - "Before" images


December 3, 2020 - Masonry repair work begins at Armour Institute

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Drone photography courtesy of Klein & Hoffman

Ask an Architect: Urban Architect

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN URBAN ARCHITECT?


In 1981 George Pappageorge, FAIA, and David A. Haymes, AIA, founded what is now Pappagoerge Haymes Partners (PH) on an ambition to re-activate the underutilized buildings and declining areas of Chicago, focusing on renovation and restoration projects. PH has since earned its national reputation as an innovator in contextual, site-appropriate urban architecture, boasting an imprint that spans from small renovation and infill projects to multifamily high-rise and mixed-use developments. We take pride in our ability to understand projects in their urban habitat and approach projects with aesthetically coherent and context-aware solutions. So we asked our architects, what does it mean to be an urban architect?


David A. Haymes, AIA, Founding Partner - "As an urban architect, one must address contemporary programmatic concerns yet have keen sensitivity to context (which, by definition is comprised of the built environment more so than the natural environment), recognizing and enhancing functional and aesthetic connectivity to neighbors, the street, the neighborhood, and the urban core through appropriate purpose, scale, mass, and architectural character.

The urban architect is also tasked with careful management of open space to enhance the urban experience, differentiating between, but threading together, defensible private, semi-private, and pubic spaces in the act of placemaking, to the benefit of the individual as well as the community as a whole."


Sofia Ramos, Architectural Associate - "Being an urban architect means juggling multiple different scales simultaneously. Of course, this is true of all architects but becomes particularly important at the urban scale because of its broader impact. What is built must respond to the scale of the existing context, the site itself, and the human scale, all of which tie back and contribute to the image of the city. Understanding the relationships of the different scales at play creates design opportunities for the urban architect to use the dynamic relationships between the scales to promote interaction & engagement- which is at the core of an urban landscape. Because of this, urban architects are responsible for building a reflection of society."


Jon Young, AIA, Associate - Being an urban architect to me is about promise.

Promise as an opportunity - the promise to create something worthwhile, something good, that will be experienced by many.  Promise as a pledge - the promise extending beyond the client, to the neighborhood, to the community, to the greater urban environment - a pledge to enhance the human experience.

When at its best, it is about the collective promise of the past, the present, and the future.

Architecture in an urban environment affords us the privilege to have a meaningful and lasting influence not only on the quality of life of the individuals who occupy the work, but also on the countless others who will - now, and in the future - experience the connections, the scale, and the community our work helps to create and encourage.


Michael Henning, AIA, Associate - "Urban, specifically infill sites often come with constraints that appear at odds with the goals and dreams for the project, and the creative challenge is to negotiate the apparent obstacles and celebrate the opportunities. Not unlike any project but a bit more intense are factors like the program area and components versus what is entitled for the often encumbered site, requirements for use, access and location services to engage, environment, connection, history, being just a few. It should always be understood that the building will be in a provided environment/context, and this needs to be thoroughly understood for its given and potential qualities to improve or enhance its environment. These are often larger scale/taller projects and should be aesthetically understood at different scales, looking at and out from the project. Understanding how the project relates to its urban context should be like a "powers of ten” type exercise with the broad view, seeing how the building lives in the urban environment and then scaling down to how it lives with the street."


Greg Klosowski, AIA, Senior Associate - "An urban architect takes a wide range of scales into account and needs to be adept at moving fluidly between them as a project takes shape. For example, there are a number of scales we consider when designing large residential towers. At the largest scale, the project needs to be considered globally relative to its sustainability and its impact on the environment, both in its construction materials and techniques, as well as its performance for decades after its opening.

These projects also have regional impacts, the most notable is when the project is tall enough to add to the narrative of a skyline, in which case its form as an object needs to be considered. Views may be lost or altered. There are potentially long-reaching impacts to solar access for neighboring sites as a tower’s shadow can extend for a block or more. On a more prosaic level, these big projects bringing potential changes to traffic patterns or may impact the density of users for local public transportation options. Introduction of retail and amenities might impact patterns of pedestrian circulation.

Urban architects also need to appreciate the very local, project-centric social scale. Amenity decks provide opportunities for larger-scale socialization spaces such as a common swimming pool to more intimate opportunities, individual outdoor dining rooms, and fire pits. Understanding the programming and arranging successful spaces requires consideration for how people may organize themselves communally within a much larger framework.

Even finer in detail are the gradients of the personal scale to consider. At a semi-public level, lobby spaces and their finishes need to be considered. The drama of a tall lobby or the intentional intimacy of a smaller setting drives a project’s tone. The feel of Venetian plaster on a carefully designed spiral staircase is one of many opportunities to make architecture a more tactile experience. At a private level, we consider how individuals live and use spaces, working out enjoyable and comfortable homes within some very efficient spaces.

Concepts for urban architecture need to be strong enough to have a certain resiliency as the design often needs to work its way through a myriad of influences - not only the developer-client - but city leaders and planners, hyper-localized neighborhood groups, and the larger public. This strength requires a certain simplicity of the parti, one that can be woven into the project’s narrative. This story-telling compliments the visual allure of a project and gives the project a sense of added architectural depth, but it also simply gives the stakeholders - all of them - something to relate to and connect with in a positive way. Good urban architects are good negotiators, communicators, and consensus builders. Positive support and belief in the design and its idea will be essential to overcome the inevitable detractors and allow to be broadly accepted and embraced."

Read the full article on Urban Legends >

Two PH Projects Recognized at NAHB Best in American Living Award

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TWO PH PROJECTS RECOGNIZED AT NAHB BEST IN AMERICAN LIVING AWARD


Two PH projects were recognized at NAHB Best in American Living Award on February 25th, 2021. The Grand Palmer Lodge and Motley School Apartments received Gold and Silver awards respectively in the Multifamily Adaptive Reuse category. We are grateful to the wonderful clients and partners we had the opportunity to collaborate with on each of these projects. Congratulations to both project teams!

The Grand Palmer Lodge Team: Ranquist Development, Campbell Coyle Real Estate, New Era Chicago, MC Construction Group
Moteley School Apartments Team: Svigos Asset Management
PH Project Team: Ken DeMuth, Luke Marczewski, Elliot Schwarz

Visit the NAHB Best in American Living Award page!

2021 Staff Promotions

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2021 SENIOR ASSOCIATE AND ASSOCIATES PROMOTIONS


In recognition of their contributions to Pappageorge Haymes Parter's portfolio, as well as their outstanding internal leadership within the firm, we are proud to announce the promotion of Greg Klosowski to Senior Associate, Christopher Woodfin to Associate II, and Georgi Todorov and Scott Schultz to Associate I.

Greg joined PH in 2013, after moving to Chicago from the west coast, where he ran his own award winning architecture studio. Greg’s striking design sensibility and generous nature have had an inspiring effect on our office culture. Notable projects have included 465 North Park, a LEED Gold apartment tower in Streeterville and 4400 Grove an ambitious 4.5 acre re-development project, including mixed market residential, retail and expansive green space in Bronzeville.

Chris joined PH in 2014, with a diverse career in design, spanning across the country and around the world, including as a former Partner with a firm in Athens, Greece. Chris’s curiosity and passion for sustainable, responsible design has guided some of our most innovative and complicated urban projects, including 20 E. Fulton, a LEED Silver residential tower in Grand Rapids, MI and The Collection, a luxury mixed-use development in Honolulu, HI.

Scott has played a critical role in the design and development of several key projects during his 10 years with PH, including EV in San Diego and SALT in Tempe, Arizona. He continues to make vital contributions to PH’s efforts in mixed-use masterplanning and urban design as well as diverse projects ranging from small retail to high-rise towers.

Georgi balances his technical expertise with his aptitude for thoughtful design. As the ultimate team player, he has contributed to projects of every size and scale since joining PH in 2014, including Wolf Point East and Alta Roosevelt. Georgi's positive outlook, involvement in the greater design community and mentorship of colleagues have revealed him as emerging leader within the studio.

New PH Shareholders Announced

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NEW PH SHAREHOLDERS ANNOUNCED


We are proud to announce Adam Lavey, Greg Klosowski, and Robert Harris have been made shareholders of Pappageorge Haymes Partners (PH). The addition of these key individuals is part of a long-term leadership transition plan at PH, moving toward a diversified business practice and model. Each Associate and Senior Associates brings unique skill sets and management styles, strengthening client relationships and expanding our capabilities.

1425 N. Milwaukee Receives City Of Chicago 2020 Preservation Excellence Award

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1425 N. MILWAUKEE RECEIVES CITY OF CHICAGO 2020 PRESERVATION EXCELLENCE AWARD


1425 N. Milwaukee is a proud recipient of the 2020 Preservation Excellence Award from the City of Chicago's Landmarks Commission. 1425 N. Milwaukee is one of nine projects recognized for its contributions to the preservation of the city's architectural heritage. It is an honor to have been a part of this project team and we are grateful to all of our consultants and collaborating team members.

"The Milwaukee Avenue District includes one of Chicago's most historic commercial quarters. The street reads as a patchwork of heights, colors, and textures. The three buildings at 1421 and 1427 date from the 1880s to 1910 and were each designed in a different architectural style: classical revival, renaissance revival, and italianate respectively. These three buildings were previously interconnected to accommodate the Meyor Furniture warehouse which operated there until the 1960s. Continental Furniture occupied the space for the subsequent decades up until 2014. For decades the windows were filled with glass blocks. As part of the rehabilitation, all the glass block was removed and replaced with new historically appropriate windows. New compatible storefronts were inserted on the first floor and all the masonry was gently cleaned, repaired, and re-painted as necessary. The newly renovated buildings have retail on the first two floors and apartments above. Because the project is seeking 20% federal rehabilitation tax credit, a number of original interior features were retained as well as including the original tin ceilings in the first floor retail spaces. What was once a collection of underutilized buildings, is now an outstanding example of architecture in the district."

Project Architect: Jon Young

Read more about the award here.
Watch the award ceremony here.

4400 Grove: New Mixed-Use, Mixed Income Housing Development Complete In Bronzeville

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4400 GROVE: NEW MIXED-USE, MIXED INCOME HOUSING DEVELOPMENT COMPLETE IN BRONZEVILLE


The Grand Opening Ceremony was held on Thursday, October 1st, to celebrate the opening of 4400 Grove. The redevelopment at the corner of 45th and Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood encompasses a phased transformation of an entire city block, which was left vacant since the demolition of the former Washington Park Homes public housing project in 2002. Almost 18 years later, this new development along Cottage Grove Avenue breathes vibrancy into the neighborhood. The first phase of the project, 4400 Grove, consists of two four-story mixed-use residential buildings that run along the length of South Cottage Grove Avenue with a public plaza mid-length. The pair of mixed-income apartment buildings provide 21 units reserved for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) residents, 34 affordable units for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, and 29 market-rate units, ranging from one to three bedrooms. The buildings also include a combined 15,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor as well as a community plaza and a landscaped park extending to the west half of the parcel, which will include the second phase of the development with sixteen single-family townhomes surrounding the park.

Cottage Grove has long been an important north-south route of the south side, connecting Hyde Park and the University of Chicago to the Chicago Loop, and the project aimed to reflect the historical character of the brick buildings in the area while still exuding contemporary curb appeal. This is accomplished by breaking down the building facades into modular segments that suggest individual buildings. Each segment alternates between modern aesthetics, which uses darker grey brick and metal panels with minimal detailing for a sleeker look, and a more historically influenced appearance with classic red and yellow brick. These segments also utilize traditional brick techniques, such as rusticated columns and cast stone detailing similar to traditional limestone detailing. Entire sections push in and out from the building plane to further define each facade and add visual interest to the building. Different window sizes allow for different sill heights, and varied window operations and colors amplify the unique look of each segment. The resulting design gives the impression that the buildings have been built over time and organically evolved into a street wall along Cottage Grove Avenue.

In addition to providing attractive and affordable housing for the community’s growing residential population, the project spurs commercial and social activity in the neighborhood. The centrally located plaza and park not only act as amenity space for the residents but also serves as a physical link to the community by lending its space for public gatherings, events, and an extension of retail activities. The twelve street-level retail spaces are outfitted with finishes, bathrooms, drinking fountains, and lighting, which is atypical as more often, developers will leave these spaces raw. The spaces are move-in-ready on a basic level, allowing tenants to set up shop with a limited budget.

Project Team: David A. Haymes, Greg Klowsowski, Chris Chiu

Christopher House Joanne L. Cicchelli Middle School Dedication Ceremony

CHRISTOPHER HOUSE JOANNE L. CICCHELLI MIDDLE SCHOOL DEDICATION CEREMONY


On March 4th, 2020, we joined our client, Christopher House Charter School, at the dedication ceremony of their new 15,300 sf addition, The JoAnne L. Cicchelli Middle School. A multi-phased design project developed and constructed over the last 10 years, PH considers the Christopher House campus in Belmont-Cragin as the cornerstone of our expanding educational design practice.

The school offers classes from early infant through 8th-grade curriculum, as well as after-school and parent education programs. With much to offer many people, the building is a true cultural anchor for the neighborhood. Its ambitious mission and modest budget translated into unique challenges for us as architects, with many stakeholders and special circumstances to consider.

Designed to enhance the Reggio Emilia philosophy that Christopher House follows, the school is a vibrant, playful, and efficient design that captures the imagination of students, providing them spatial variety and opportunity for discovery while supporting their sense of security and belonging.

The client team of Christopher House — the board, benefactors, and faculty — inspired us at every turn. Their tireless efforts and enthusiasm are what helped to drive a seemingly impossible program, into something real. We are proud to be part of the Christopher House family and to have contributed our part to their growth over the last decade.

Project Team: Jeff Renterghem, Ron Weber, Michael Henning, Heather Faircloth, Peter Evanich

The Old Colony Building: Pushing The Limits Of Design

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THE OLD COLONY BUILDING: PUSHING THE LIMITS OF DESIGN


PH Partner, Kenneth DeMuth, AIA, presented at the 50th Anniversary of CTBUH World Congress on October 31st, 2019, divulging historical details behind the inception of the Old Colony Building and its recent preservation efforts. Ken's full essay has been published in CTBUH's "First Skyscrapers Considerations of Critical Buildings and Technologies in Skyscraper History".

Abstract:
In 1891, several Chicago architects hastily designed 15 downtown office skyscrapers to beat a deadline for a surprise building height ordinance. Incredibly, Holabird & Roche (H&R) would design five over a single weekend, four of which were built, and three of which stand as landmarks today. Among these, the 17-story Old Colony Building (OCB) would stretch the limits of contemporary design and engineering expertise with raft foundations, lateral bracing, and height, thereby creating a template for the speculative office tower. High-rise evolution and the role played by skeletal framing is much celebrated, but less attention is given to other aspects such as soil engineering, wind bracing, component prefabrication, and the emerging role of the specialized engineering and construction techniques required to realize this evolving new archetypal form.

As a truly American invention, the modern business office tower pursued ever-increasing scale, efficiency, and innovation to become profitable and competitive in the rapidly expanding city centers. The scheme for OCB provided a footprint exceeding the lot area on the reasoning that the greater construction expense was justified by greater rents obtained. Reducing masonry weight by increasing glass areas allowed load-proportioned footings to carry a taller building, stiffened by a first-of-its-kind portal bracing system. Former bridge engineer Corydon Purdy nested Bessemer steel arches between prefabricated “Phoenix” columns, allowing the narrow 17-story structure to offer unimpeded floor layout plans while spreading overturning loads across the wide foundation mats. Repetitive, system-based structural components and innovations in masonry construction sequencing sped the construction process.