Designed, constructed and completed last year by Chicago’s own Krueck & Sexton architectural firm, the $38 million dollar building boasts expanded and enhanced exhibition, classroom, and library spaces, along with a new state of the art theater, a children's center and a kosher café managed by Wolfgang Puck catering.
The faceted glass surface of the Spertus contains an irregular series of convex peaks and concave crags that jockey daylight across its surface and in the evening emit a hearth-like glow. Each panel is roughly the same dimensions of the standard window panel found on the majority of masonry buildings fortifying Michigan Avenue, but Spertus’ window wall, which drapes across the length of the ten story tall building, provides visitors with an outstanding, unobstructed view of Grant Park and the Lakeshore. It also imbues the ninth and tenth terraced floors of the museum’s exhibition space with a generous amount of natural light.
The sparkling façade is also doing its fair share for the environment, thanks to a high-performance coating on the glass and internal shades that control the building’s heat gain and glare. The entire structure is Silver Level LEED certified, and comes outfitted with a 6,700-square-foot green roof, high-performance lighting, demand-based ventilation, and water-saving fixtures. Even Wolfgang Puck catering is getting in on the green, via its recent work with Chicago Biofuels as part of their pilot program developed to turn used cooking oil into clean-burning, alternative fuel for diesel vehicles.
--Thea Liberty Nichols