The Wrigley Building has won the 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Rehabilitation, as conferred by the Board of Directors of Landmarks Illinois. The award is important as it serves to honor innovative preservation projects. Goettsch Partners served as the architect for the complete renovation of this iconic building in Chicago.
The Wrigley Building, designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, is one of Chicago’s most recognized architectural icons, dating to the 1920s. The building was completed in two parts: the taller south tower in 1921, and the north tower with a connecting third-floor bridge in 1924. A plaza was constructed in 1957 between the two towers over the active train lines that ran below.
Following its sale in 2011 to a consortium of investors led by BDT Capital Partners and including Zeller Realty Group, ownership sought to renovate the property, retaining the building’s name and restoring its historic integrity. The most historically sensitive work focused on the building’s exterior, lobbies and plaza, while floors above were completely renovated to serve new office users.
One significant effort was the removal of the screen wall between the two towers at ground level. The 1920 plan for the building had anticipated an upper-level street that would run between the towers. Although this street was never built, the removal of the glazed screen and the 1950s connecting walkways accomplished the 1920s vision of creating an open passage and plaza.
Work on the plaza itself was extensive. The entire 1950s-era plaza was demolished down to structural steel. The area was rebuilt using new pavers in a consistent color and materials palette, defining a distinguished, large open space that presents an inviting outdoor amenity for passersby and caters to prospective retailers and restaurants.
Inside the towers, major public areas were also renovated. The building lobbies, in particular, had featured low ceilings from historically unsympathetic 1980s renovations. These ceilings were removed and replaced with modern interpretations of the original designs, returning the original historic volumes and utilizing 1920s marbles and mahogany. On the upper floors, work involved replacing more than 2,000 windows, creating a fully sprinklered building, upgrading all mechanical systems, and renovating all bathrooms and public corridors.
The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Rehabilitation will be officially presented at Landmarks Illinois’s awards ceremony, to be held on Saturday, November 1, 2014.