Location: Chicago, Illinois | United States Architect: Wight & Company, Darien, IL | United States Construction: Architectural Panel Systems (APS), Naperville, IL | United States Fabricator: Sobotec, Ltd., Hamilton, ON | Canada Year of construction: 2018 Material: ALUCOBOND® PLUS Bone White, Custom Ridgedale Silver, Custom Gray Velvet Mica
“IBEW Local 134 sought a new home for its members – a home that would create a strong presence within a community, a home that would speak to both the history and the future of this strong brotherhood, a home that would be both inviting and inspiring,” said Milica “Mimi” Stojsavljevic, project designer, Wight & Company. “They wanted to create a gathering place that puts light on both the union’s future as well as its legacy. Local 134 wanted to build a state-of-the-art facility that would represent the future of their trade and set a precedent for all others.”
The $25-million project – totaling approximately 70,000 square feet – includes a 48,000 square-foot retrofit of the former Chicago Public Schools’ 1960s-era Drake Elementary School into IBEW administrative offices as well as new construction of an adjacent 22,000 square-foot wing to house the IBEW’s union hall and lobby. The school’s original gymnasium has been renovated into a new community center in which neighborhood residents can play basketball, soccer and other indoor sports for free. Additionally, IBEW 134 is partnering with neighboring Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School to provide instructors to teach electrical courses; and, it has guaranteed program graduates positions in the union’s pre-apprentice program.
This sleek architectural design’s modern façade is clad in nearly 24,000 square feet of 4mm ALUCOBOND® PLUS aluminum composite material (ACM) by 3A Composites USA, including: 19,873 square feet of Custom Ridgedale Silver, 2,327 square feet of Custom Gray Velvet Mica and 1,747 square feet of Bone White. Darien, Ill.-headquartered Wight & Company, served as both architect and general contractor for the project.
“The ALUCOBOND® ACM panel was selected as the ‘wrapper’ of the building because it gave us a clean and modern finish that would help emphasize the massing as well as the slim profile that was crucial to the architectural concept,” said Stojsavljevic. “The module we wanted to work with was fairly large and ALUCOBOND® ACM was able to achieve this. The custom colors were so helpful; it gave us endless opportunity in color selection.”
The Custom Ridgedale Silver and Custom Gray Velvet Mica ALUCOBOND® colors were selected “to create a two-tone subtle backdrop to reflect the building’s light feature,” according to Stojsavljevic.
“The return response from 3A Composites for these custom ALUCOBOND® colors was spot on,” said Stojsavljevic. “We picked these very custom colors to create a silhouette around a light-filled wall. We wanted to create a bold statement in the community that would reflect the Bronzeville revitalization.”
While a thinner metal panel originally was specified as cladding for both buildings, Architectural Panel Systems, Inc.(APS), of Naperville, Ill., recommended ALUCOBOND® ACM in order to maintain the aesthetics of this modern design that incorporates very large modules.
“ALUCOBOND® allowed them to keep the aesthetics and come in at budget,” said Ross Boehmer, president, Architectural Panel Systems (APS), which installed the ALUCOBOND® panels with a rainscreen system. “We could install much larger panels with joints where they wanted them. We were able to provide the aesthetics as specified.”
The existing school building serves as Local 134’s business headquarters and houses offices, conference rooms and lounges – spaces that were not complementary with the previous classroom layout. In order to achieve IBEW’s design goals for the old school, Stojsavljevic said the decision was made to demolish everything but the concrete structure and to rebuild the exterior skin and interiors. A five-foot cavity between the renovated school building and the newly constructed union hall and lobby was designed to serve as a chase for oversized ductwork running to the lobby.
“We had to remove everything from the school down to its concrete structure, which included masonry and light gauge steel,” said Mark Lomeda, senior project manager and LEAN strategy leader, Wight & Company. “Our engineers then were able to verify exactly what was there.”
ALUCOBOND® panels also were installed in the interior as well in areas “where we were trying to mimic some of the exterior architecture,” according to Stojsavljevic.