In Chicago, Krueck & Sexton Architects created Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies to accommodate 400-seat multi-use theater, college classrooms, library, permanent and temporary exhibition space. The faceted, folding wall of glass is an expression of light, both metaphorical and actual, which is fundamental to Jewish religious and intellectual traditions.
+ Design statement by Krueck & Sexton Architects
The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies selected Krueck & Sexton to design a signature architectural statement about the nature of Jewish culture, light and learning.
Spertus, set in the Historic Michigan Boulevard District designed by architects such as Burnham and Sullivan, resembles an exquisitely cut diamond placed into the great wall of stone that rises like a cliff across Grant Park. Its faceted and folded glass façade is an expression of light, both metaphorical and actual, which is fundamental to Jewish religious and intellectual traditions.
Spertus’ logo spells let there be light, which represents the educational and spiritual enlightenment that is achieved through learning. Present day materials and technologies are chosen and rigorously deployed and detailed in order to support the desired building expression, and reveal the inner dynamic and energy of the many programs within. The unabashedly sculptural and transparent expression of the institution is of our time, while engaging in a dialogue across time with masterpieces that put Chicago on the architectural map.
The new building functions as a vertical campus, containing museum galleries, a library and archives, a 400-seat multi-use auditorium, a degree granting college, café and gift shop, and administrative offices.
The inner dynamic and diversity of Spertus is achieved by a soaring ground floor lobby and a meandering atrium at the top of the building. This spatial solution physically and symbolically connects the institution’s varied functions, creating a series of grandly scaled rooms that borrow light, space, and vitality from each other.
Through a variety of measures, including high performance lighting, demand based ventilation, and heat recovery, the building achieves a 29% reduction in energy consumption, resulting in over 300 tons of avoided CO2 per year. Water-saving fixtures are used throughout. The quality of the building’s indoor air is ensured by the use of healthy materials, high-efficiency air filtration, and special humidity controls, providing for the well-being of staff, students, and visitors, as well as the long-term preservation of the Institute’s archival treasures.
+ Description courtesy of Chicago Design Bureau
Chicago’s First Green Museum
Krueck & Sexton’s Spertus Institute makes history in Michigan Avenue historic district
Architects Krueck & Sexton’s new Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies Building in downtown Chicago recently became the city’s first “green” museum after being awarded a Silver Level LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.
The 10-story, 145,000 square foot structure is also the first LEED-certified building in the city’s Historic Michigan Boulevard District, a 12-block row of mainly late 19th and early 20th Century buildings by such seminal architects as Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Solon S. Beman and Holabird & Roche.
Among the sustainable elements that made the building eligible for LEED certification are everything from advanced “light harvesting” and heat recovery systems to such low-tech ideas as installing bike racks and a shower in order to encourage employees to bike to work. The building also has a green roof that reduces energy consumption.
A lot of what goes into making a building green – like bringing in natural light and using energy efficient systems — is just common sense… Architects like Mies van der Rohe were green long before the term was invented. For us, green technology is a fundamental part of the design process.
There’s a lot of different ways to make buildings sustainable… We’ve always designed buildings that are open, flexible, use energy wisely and have large amounts of natural light… green is not a short term strategy. The real payoffs for companies and landlords come down the road in the form of fewer sick days, higher productivity and significant savings in maintenance and operating expenses.
The LEED certification is the latest in a series of honors the building has received since it was completed in 2008. These include three AIA awards, including the highly coveted Louis Sullivan Award; the Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ Excellence in New Infill Construction Award, and Interior Design Magazine’s Best of Year Award.
Spertus occupies a mid-block site at 610 South Michigan Avenue and is at the southern end of the Historic Michigan Boulevard District. The District was created in 2002 to preserve one of the city’s most important historic streetscapes.
Spertus’ decidedly 21st Century design – the elaborately folded and angled façade is composed of 726 individually cut panes of glass in 556 shapes — was made possible by the fact that the building was constructed on what was the last remaining vacant lot in the District.
In their day, the buildings in the historic district were some of the best, most technologically advanced, structures in the city… We wanted our design to reflect that same level of creativity and technology but in a modern vocabulary.
The 600 block also contains the French-influenced 1908 Blackstone Hotel by Marshall and Fox, as well as two buildings by Christian Eckstrom, an architect known locally mainly for his innovative industrial and warehouse designs. The Eckstrom buildings are the 1907 International Harvester Company Building at 600 South Michigan and the 1908 Chicago Musical College Building at 624 South Michigan Avenue.
The Historic Michigan Boulevard district also includes such landmarks as Adler & Sullivan’s 1890 Auditorium Building, Solon S. Beman’s 1885 Fine Arts Building, Holabird & Roche’s 1927 Stevens Hotel and D.H. Burnham & Co.’s 1904 Railway Exchange Building.
Ron Krueck and Mark Sexton, the founders of the Krueck & Sexton, have worked together for over 30 years and have amassed a varied portfolio of high profile civic and cultural projects as well as numerous residential and commercial commissions. The firm is also noted for its innovative restoration and historic re-adaptation practice, which is focused on Modernist and other Post War buildings.
+ Project credits / data
Formal name of building: Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
Location, political (city, state): Chicago, Illinois
Location, geophysical (minor watershed, major watershed, other descriptor): Chicago Central Business District (LOOP), City of Chicago combined sewer and stormwater system
Gross square footage: 145,000
Total construction cost: $40,000,000
Program of spaces: 400-seat multi-use theater, college classrooms, library, permanent and temporary exhibition space
Date completed: December 2007
Owner: Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
Architect: Krueck & Sexton Architects
Design Architect and Architect of record: Krueck & Sexton Architects
Associate architect: VOA Architects
Commissioning agent: U.S. Equities Development
Interior designer: Krueck & Sexton Architects
Engineer(s): Tylk, Gustafson, Reckers, Wilson, Andrews (Structural), Environmental Systems Design (MEP/Fire Protection/Life Safety)
Landscape: Daniel Weinbach & Partners
Environmental consultant: Atelier Ten
Lighting: ISP Design Inc., Schuler & Shook (Atrium Lighting)
Acoustical: Kirkegaard Associates
Other: Kirkegaard Associates, Schuler & Shook (Theater Design)
General contractor: W.E. O’Neil
+ General Specifications
Steel Frame with Composite Metal Decking furnished and installed by Kingery Steel
Masonry: CMU Block on rear and zero lot-line side elevations, Chicago Block and Brick
Curtain Wall Engineer – ASI Design
Fabricator of Aluminum Components – Texas Wall
Installer of Curtain Wall – Arcadia
Concrete: Structural Concrete installed by WE O’Neil – 2.5% flyash content by weight
Wood: EIFS, ACM, or other: N/A
Glass: All exterior insulated glass panels by Viracon, insulating unit, Low-E coating, 40% white frit, ½” air space, laminated inner lite
Skylights: Super Sky insulating unit, Low-E coating, 40% white frit, ½” air space, laminated inner lite
Doors: Blumcraft Glass Entry Doors
Roofing: Low-slope roofing, Barret Ram Tough 250 Roofing System, Green Grid Garden Roofing System
Flashing, accessories: Soprema membrane flashing
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong Optima Ceiling Tiles, 70% recycled content
Suspension grid: Armstrong XL 1/8” Reveal Grid, 23% post-consumer recycled content
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Sierra Pine Medite II, Georgia Pacific, non-urea formaldehyde substrates
Paints and stains: Sherman Williams ProGreen 200 Low VOC Latex Paint
Glazing: AGW, Innovation Glass
Wallcoverings: Knoll Fabrics “Screenplay”
Plastic laminate: Formica applied with formaldehyde-free adhesives
Special surfacing: Wausau Precast Terrazzo Pavers at Ornamental Stairs, Terrazzo Floor at Main Lobby, Ardex Concrete Floor Finish on 9th and 10th Floor
Floor and wall tile: Daltile Ceramic in Washrooms
Resilient flooring: Tarkett vinyl sheet, Noraplan Mega Rubber Flooring
Carpet: Bentley Prince Street, all GreenLabel Plus
Roller Shades: Mechanized Mecho Roller Shades w/ Eco-Veil Fabric
Office furniture: Knoll Autostrada System Furniture, 40% recycled content, Greenguard certified
Reception furniture: Custom Millwork by Cain Millwork in Main Lobby
Fixed seating: Series Seating
Tables: Teknion (Library tables)
Upholstery: Maharam Fabric, Mohair Supreme, 100% mohair, 100% cotton backing (Lecture Hall)
Interior ambient lighting: Halo Track Lighting
Downlights: RSA Recessed Adjustable Fixtures, Neoray Strip Fluorescents, Cooper Lighting Downlights
Accent Lighting: Times Square in Lobby Atrium and Upper Atrium
Elevators/Escalators: Mitsubishi Elevator
Chillers: (2) York YCAV0177EA46 Variable Speed Air-cooled Chillers
Plumbing (include water fountains and water-saving fixtures as applicable):
0.5 GPF Urinals (Sloan 8186-0.5) and Dual-Flush Water Closets (Sloan 116 with B-73-A Handle Assembly) were specified.
Sloan EAF-275 low-flow, solar powered lavatory faucets (0.5 GPM) were specified.
1.5 GPM flow restrictors were specified on all kitchen sink faucets.
Symmons C96-500 low flow (2.0 GPM) shower heads were specified.
Building Management System
Direct Digital Control Building Automation System by Johnson Controls, Inc.