Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture Receives Two Awards from AIA Illinois, including Top Design Prize for Randolph Tower

The American Institute of Architects Illinois has awarded top prizes at the 2013 Honor Awards to Randolph Tower and the Hairpin Lofts and Hairpin Arts Center, both projects of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

The American Institute of Architects Illinois has awarded top prizes at the 2013 Honor Awards to Randolph Tower, the Hairpin Lofts and Hairpin Arts Center—all projects of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. The evening’s highest project honor, the Louis Sullivan Award, went to Randolph Tower in Chicago. The adaptive reuse project succeeded in transforming the landmark Steuben Club Building into a mixed-use residential community in the heart of Chicago’s Theater District.

Standing at 463 feet tall, the circa 1929 building is one of the tallest terra cotta-clad towers in Chicago, featuring numerous Gothic Revival architectural elements such as ornate buttresses, gargoyles and arches. Designed to house offices, retail stores and a private German social club, the building was shut down in 2001 by city officials due to hazardous conditions.

The building remained abandoned for over a decade until it was adapted into a mixed-use development with 313 mixed-income apartments, commercial office space and retail storefronts.

Brandy Koch, 2013 AIA Illinois president—who convened the national jury and served as an ex officio member, said: “The jury recognized the daunting challenges of the rehabilitation of Randolph Tower and was impressed by its ambitious scale and complexity.”

The award was accepted by Paul Alessandro, a partner with HPA and the company’s director of interior design, George Valdez. Alessandro told the audience: “This project was 13 years in the making, and getting it completed took one of the most amazing public-private partnerships ever assembled. Both of us will be proud of this project for the rest of our careers.”

The second award won by HPA, the Crombie Taylor Honor Award, was for the Hairpin Lofts and Hairpin Arts Center in Chicago. The award recognizes a project that has enhanced the natural and built environments of a community through preservation and restoration.

The rehabilitation of the former Morris B. Sachs Building converted a commercial office and retail structure into a multi-use development with a 6,000-square-foot community arts center, 7,000-square-foot of retail storefronts and 28 loft apartments—out of which 25 units were dedicated as affordable housing.

The circa 1929 flatiron building, listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and a Chicago landmark, is well known for its triangular footprint and camel logo of the original occupant—the Hump Hair Pin Manufacturing Company.

The project is LEED Gold certified and features rooftop solar panels that provide heat for domestic hot water; a high-performance building envelope; a green roof; and ground-source heat-pump wells.

Photo Credits: Randolph Tower – Leslie Schwartz; Hairpin Lofts – Patsy McEnroe

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