BTLA's Work Recognized By Design Evanston

BTL Architect principal Delph Gustitus (pictured left) with Northwestern University's Manager of Construction Projects, Dick Painter (pictured right) at Design Evanston's 2017 Awards Ceremony, November 2, 2017.

BTL Architect principal Delph Gustitus (pictured left) with Northwestern University's Manager of Construction Projects, Dick Painter (pictured right) at Design Evanston's 2017 Awards Ceremony, November 2, 2017.

Last week, BTL Architects was recognized by Design Evanston at an awards ceremony for our work to restore 720 University Place at Northwestern University. Design Evanston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit advocacy organization promoting good design in Evanston, Illinois. Annually they recognize professionals and projects that exemplify good design. Here is an excerpt from the awards program detail:

This project involved the restoration of the building enclosure. The building was built in the 1890’s, originally as a school of music with a performance hall. Years of deferred maintenance and atmospheric soiling had taken its toll on the exterior. The Owner stated a goal of restoring the exterior to its original condition as closely as possible. A detailed examination and assessment of the exterior was performed to determine the scope of repairs. The 12,000 square feet of exterior wall surface includes two brick colors and sizes, cut limestone sills, painted wood windows and trim, a rough-cut structural stone masonry base, clay tile roof, and copper downspouts.

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A combination of historic masonry techniques, reclaimed materials, and more modern materials and methods were used to restore the exterior to its original splendor. All masonry was cleaned with products and methods selected during extensive sampling. Old mortars were removed by mechanical wet grinding. Three different new mortars colors were used with an historic beaded joint profile. Deteriorated wood components were replaced with reclaimed old growth lumber fashioned in profiles to match the original components. High performance paint products were used in colors selected to match the historic appearance from historic photos.

More images of this project are included in our portfolio. For a full listing of Design Evanston's 2017 honorees, click here.

World Architecture Day

World Architecture Day, celebrated on the first Monday of every October, was set up in 2005 by the International Union Of Architects (UIA) to show appreciation for the work architects do and to celebrate some of the great global architectural works, network and increase collective responsibility to create better future in our lives.

This year, the UIA representing more than 1 million architects worldwide, selected the theme of the World Architecture Day 2017 as "Climate Change Action!".

The American Institute of Architects asserts that "architects play a vital role in combating climate change. Buildings are major producers of carbon, so climate change poses both major obstacles and opportunities for the profession." Following the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, the UIA has called upon all architects and architecture organizations in the world to mobilize efforts to respond. Learn more here. Happy World Architecture Day.

On the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017

You don't have to look very far to find information about the Chicago Architecture Biennial. News outlets from around the globe are focused on Chicago and what is being billed as the "largest architecture and design exhibition in North America." This year’s Biennial, which opened on September 16th, features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme “Make New History.”

With the public opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, curators Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee discuss the ideas behind the theme, "Make New History."

British architecture critic Rowan Moore wrote in The Guardian:

The Chicago biennial shows nuanced, subtle stuff, and it’s sometimes easier to say what these architects are not than what they are. They are not iconic, futuristic or dogmatic. They don’t claim to save the world – which, one suspects, the next generation of architects will want to do. They don’t go in for manifestos or stylistic labels, for which reason a collective celebration like the Chicago biennial has been slow to happen. Now it has, it’s an important event.

Here are a few quick links to explore what others are saying about the Biennial, including the exhibits that top the list for 'must see' elements of the event:

15 Must-See Installations at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial
Chicago Architecture Biennial: 10 things we loved
Five fundamental problems with the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial
The Chicago Architecture Biennial: Hard to understand but easy to enjoy

Feel free to share your opinion about the Biennial in the comments section below.

Daley Center Picasso’s 50th birthday

On August 15, 1967, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley famously remarked “what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow" as he unveiled an untitled monumental sculpture by Pablo Picasso at Daley Plaza. This month the city will mark this popular public art piece's 50th birthday.

The finished sculpture was executed from Picasso's 42-inch steel model and is 50 feet high and weighs 162 tons. The Picasso was certainly subject of some controversy in its first years. On August 25, 1967, Time Magazine reported: "Right up to the moment that the billowing blue percale veil covering Pablo Picasso's 50-ft. sculpture came tumbling down last week in Chicago, the debate continued. Was it a bird, a woman, an Afghan hound, a Barbary ape, a cruel hoax, a Communist plot, or Superman?" Nevertheless, Chicago also received many expressions of congratulations on its important acquisition and Time praised the city's "vigor and vision" and described the Chicago Picasso as "one of the most magnificent windfalls in its history."

Curbed Chicago reports that Picasso’s big birthday party will run from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8 at Daley Plaza. Admission is free to the public.

Film Challenge Bringing Architectural Stories to Life

The American Institute of Architect’s third annual I Look Up Film Challenge is inviting architects and filmmakers to collaborate in bringing architectural stories to life. This year’s challenge calls for films that highlight projects and architects that are helping to change communities for the better. This year's campaign hopes to shine a light on the powerful social impact of architects and their work.

A short documentary film on the positive changes in Midtown, a neighborhood in Jackson, Mississippi, launches the 2017 Challenge and introduces this year's theme, Blueprint for Better. Duvall Decker, a Jackson architecture firm, worked alongside residents and community leaders to transform a struggling area into an example of healthy community revitalization. Architect Roy Decker, AIA opens the film saying: "Architecture, at its best, is practiced when it is in service to a community or a larger goal - a public benefit of some kind."

The film ends with the quote: "This world is a gift. If you're going to build, you should build well." Entries are due next month and public voting will run from 8/21/17 to 10/06/17. To learn more, visit ilookup.org