MAUMEE, OHIO – Built in 1872, the four-story commercial property at 1029 West Madison in downtown Chicago became rundown and was abandoned over the years. The property was brought back to life in 2011 with a full-structure, award-winning renovation.
After helping obtain a historic landmark designation, Widler Architectural collaborated with property owners Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) to rescue the Italianate loft building after 10 years of vacancy.
On the interior, exposed brick, timber ceilings and refurbished original floors plus new mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems now make life comfortable for a first-floor restaurant and health club. Floors two through four are home to the SCC advertising firm headquarters.
“Exterior work was so substantial on this project that it’s truly a transformation,” says Brent Widler, AIA and president of Widler Architectural out of Chicago. “One of our biggest challenges was reconstructing the missing cornice work that tops the structure of this building. This was critical because it ‘brings back’ the Italianate style of the building and caps off the successful renovation.”
To create the massive cornice Widler specified the custom design and creation of the cornice using a multitude of durable Fypon® urethane pieces. Weather-, rot- and insect-resistant trim board and panels, along with a variety of crown, cove and dentil mouldings created the base of the cornice. Three-foot tall urethane brackets were added to create the showpiece topping the structure.
“We needed an alternative to the original cornice that graced the structure,” says Widler. “The replacement alternatives were mostly cast products that would have been heavy, requiring additional structural bracing and possibly cranes to install. The Fypon products were the perfect solution to this challenge. They’re lightweight, yet durable and have all the design details we needed. Because they require no structural reinforcement, the cost was significantly less to create the massive cornice from Fypon products than from any of the other options we researched.
“Best of all, with the finished cornice painted black there is great depth in the pieces, so you can still see the extensive detail of the cornice topping even though it’s 75 feet up in the air. The Fypon products were absolutely the very best solution for mimicking the original cornice on this building.”
The massive structure renovation included the removal of exterior fire escapes and non-historic cladding at the ground floor; removal of the non-historic infill at the masonry openings; masonry repairs, cleaning and tuck pointing; restoration and reconstruction of the ground floor at the front facade; new double-hung windows and a new 2,500-square foot green roof top deck. For their extensive detail work, the project was honored with the 2013 “Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence” by the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development.
“The funny thing is that I had never specified Fypon products before this project,” says Widler. “Now, after this experience, every single project I’ve designed has used Fypon in one way or another. I’m so impressed with this product — its cost effectiveness, durability and aesthetics — that I’ve specified Fypon urethane and PVC products for every project I work on.
“I’ve found that I can control the quality of the projects I’m working on better when I specify the Fypon products. For example, decorative column wraps from Fypon are consistently top-quality pieces with attractive profiles. Instead of requesting subcontractors to construct column wraps on the job site out of wood or other materials — and risking an inconsistency of quality — the Fypon column wraps deliver consistent quality and eye-catching details every time.”
Widler Architectural specializes in renovation work on historical homes and commercial projects across the nation. The firm is located in Chicago with more information available at www.widlerarch.com.
Schafer Condon Carter is widely recognized as one of the top independent advertising agencies in the United States. A simple mission of “Think Again” drives the agency’s entrepreneurial spirit. For more information, visit www.sccadv.com.