Industry News

Climate Change Mitigation

Visitors enjoying the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. (Photo: fotoluminate)

Visitors enjoying the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. (Photo: fotoluminate)

The high temperatures of recent days has, for some, brought back memories of the deadly July 1995 heat wave in Chicago that killed more than 700 people. While our recent high temperatures don’t come close to breaking records, it should prompt another conversation about our changing climate and our industry’s response to mitigating the impact of a warming planet. In recent weeks, the Royal Institute of British Architects made news by declaring a state of climate emergency.

Last December, 2018 AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA issued an open letter detailing the AIA's stance on climate change mitigation, steps the Institute has taken to confront the issue, and how architects can get involved. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Climate change and the heightened severity of weather events will cause increased loss of human life, more frequent crop failure, and more displaced people. This will destabilize governments, increase the risk of conflict, and hurt the global economy…The science is irrefutable.

The building sector accounts for roughly 40 percent of current global greenhouse gas emissions. By achieving significant emissions reduction in our own sector of the economy, we can contribute a large portion of the solution.

As architects, we have unique skills to explain the challenge to a wide audience, and the design knowledge to find more ways to reduce building emissions. We are equal to the task. But we must not wait.

Buildings are major producers of carbon, so climate change poses both major obstacles and opportunities for architects around the world. I am proud to be a part of an industry that is taking a stand. You can read the entire call to action here.

Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces Initial List of 2019 Participants

Earlier this month the Chicago Architecture Biennial announced the first group of contributors to the 2019 edition, titled …and other such stories. The biennial will form an expansive and multi-faceted exploration of the field of architecture and the built environment globally.

The first 51 contributors — spanning the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia — form an initial, representative group, and include an early selection of ambitious commissioned projects. These projects will address key questions about the implications of architecture as it relates to land, memory, rights, and civic participation, and are particularly inspired by the history and conditions of the City of Chicago.

Biennial Executive Director Todd Palmer said of the list: "We are thrilled to be partner with such a diverse and insightful group of contributors and tell important stories about who we are, and who we may become."

Over the coming months, the Biennial will announce the full list of contributors and key programming for this year’s edition of the Biennial. You can learn more here.

Architecture Week 2018

archweek.jpg

Architecture Week is held every April as part of the American Institute of Architect's nationwide celebration of our built environment. While there has been some confusion about the actual 2018 dates, a tweet from AIA confirmed that the week of April 22-28, 2018 has been designated for the national annual observance. AIA chapters all over the country will offer a variety of lectures, tours and activities geared towards architects and the public alike during the week.

AIA Chicago has a very active calendar of events throughout the year, and several activities have been set during Architecture Week:

TUESDAY / APRIL 24, 2018 / 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
WELL & HEALTHY BUILDINGS: SESSION 3 OF A FOUR-PART SERIES
Heitman Architects, 180 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 001, Chicago

Join the Illinois Green Alliance, IIDA Illinois, and AIA Chicago for a four-part series addressing health and wellness in our buildings and spaces. This third-part will focus on how lighting can improve the health and performance of occupants.

TUESDAY / APRIL 24, 2018 / 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
ON THE WAY TO SPA! A KICKOFF RECEPTION FOR THE SMALL PROJECT AWARDS

The Devon&Devon showroom in the Merchandise Mart will play host to a reception celebrating the 2018 Small Project Awards which will be announced on Thursday, May 17 at the annual SPA Exhibit.

WEDNESDAY / APRIL 25, 2018 / 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
TOUR: NICHOLS TOWER AT HOMAN SQUARE (ORIGINAL SEARS TOWER)
906 S. Homan Ave., Chicago, IL

The 2018 Community Interface Committee theme is Neighborhood Diversity. CIC will kick off the year with a tour of the Nichols Tower at Homan Square in Lawndale which was home to the Original Sears Tower since 1906. The 14-story Neo-Classical tower was part of the sprawling Sears, Roebuck & Co complex until they moved downtown in 1973.

THURSDAY / APRIL 26, 2018 / 8:30 AM - 11:45 AM
SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND COMPLIANCE IN THE WORKPLACE
AIA Chicago, 35 East Wacker Drive #250, Chicago, IL

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an important topic, and AIA Chicago wants to ensure that members have accurate information on this subject. Professional Affiliate member Debra Gervase, Area Vice President for Arthur J. Gallagher, has organized a program that will help architects from firms of all sizes understand the issues that they and their business may face.

* * *

Architecture Week will also be used to raise awareness about the AIA's Blueprint for Better Communities initiative - a program intended to increase architects’ engagement with their communities around pressing issues like climate change, housing, and public health.

Legendary Landmarks

Landmarks Illinois will host its 13th annual Legendary Landmarks Celebration next month. Each year, the event honors civic and cultural leaders who are making an impact on Chicago and Illinois - and this year's honorees are:

  • Berglund Construction
  • Daniel Levin, Founder and Chairman of The Habitat Company
  • Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President

“These exceptional leaders have devoted their careers to investing in the people and places that make Chicago one of the world’s great cities,” said Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO. “Thanks to the ongoing work of our 2018 Legendary Landmarks Honorees, Chicagoans have attractive, safe and authentic places to live and work and distinct places to enjoy together.

Click here to learn more about this event or the important work of the honorees and Landmarks Illinois.

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.

P7120272.JPG
IMG_4274.JPG

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.