AltusWorks, Inc.

Chicago, Illinois

Both this landmark 1894 church and the adjacent parish house, were designated as Chicago Landmarks in 2017. With funding from the Parish House sale, the diocese launched a rejuvenation project to integrate all parish house functions into the church building.

Faithful restoration of the exterior was required. The congregation elected to respect the historic interior, while introducing compatible and reversible modifications, presenting an exciting challenge for the design team. Workshops with parishioners gathered perspectives, thoughts, and desires related to historic material conservation, liturgical practices, and functional adjacencies. The first phase of a master plan focused on implementing upgrades to expedite reoccupation, while introducing compatible yet reversible modifications and creating a broader programmatic framework to guide future work.

The programmatic design elements include converting side aisles to new functions comprised of reading rooms, a glass-enclosed pastor’s office, and a new chapel designed with components salvaged from the parish house. Fixed seating was reduced to provide a gathering area at the nave’s north end. The narthex was repurposed into a smaller entry, pantry, and toilet rooms. Historic decorative chandeliers were restored and re-lamped with LED lights. The project succeeds in meeting all client goals, while providing new, more flexible and efficient space for parishioners.

Jury Comments

The repurposed spaces are achieved with light and views, integrated into the volume of the entire church. The core original purpose of the nave is preserved with the sensitive addition of these community uses in the side aisles. The reversible glass walls preserve the historical integrity of the architecture.

Project Team Members

A. Joakim Backstrom
Katherine Pohl
Ellen F. Stoner
Chelsea Medek
Carolyn Isaacson
David Periolat
Kylie Fitzgerald

Project Consultants

Architectural Consulting Engineers, MEP Engineer
The Structural Group, Ltd., Structural Engineer
Bulley & Andrews, General Contractor
The Concord Group, Cost Estimation
GSG Consultants, Inc., Environmental Engineer