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Houseal Lavigne Associates in Chicago, Illinois by inFORM Studio
September 17th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: inFORM Studio
The renovation of an eleventh floor suite in the 1926 Art Deco Metropolitan Building, located in the heart of the Chicago theater district, provided a unique opportunity for a young and progressive planning firm to increase their profile within the city of Chicago. The original space, layered with aging ceiling tile and threadbare carpet, quickly developed into an extensive dematerialization exercise. A nervous and wary building landlord observed progress as the current building standards were set aside and the existing finishes were stripped away revealing the clarity and beauty of the original architecture.
Translucent acrylic, aluminum, stained MDF & birch panels intervene with the existing plaster covered walls and columns to produce a modern condition while preserving the found object of the existing suite. The reduction of public|private separation to its most essential condition permits the translation of the environment into a simple container for the office program; inherently forming a very open and collaborative setting. Understated detailing and responsive material considerations are expressed in each piece of custom designed millwork. Modular workstations allow for considerable layout flexibility, supported by moveable storage cabinets and desk mounted shelving.
The jury from St. Louis, Missouri selected Houseal Lavigne’s Chicago office space for a 2011 AlA Michigan Honor Award. The jury commented that the space was “harmonious, simple, clean, and pleasant, with engaging views. A great balance of glass and solid planes.”
inFORM studio is a Woman-owned, WBE certified, design based practice with three offices in Detroit, Michigan, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and New York City. Each office is fully integrated and collaborates with teams set for each project that span all three locations. Formed in March 2000, Van Tine|Guthrie Studio of architecture quickly earned a reputation for the progressive work of the three principals, Michael L. Guthrie, Kenneth R. Van Tine, and Gina Van Tine.
The firm has received continued peer recognition and community attention for design excellence in acquiring numerous state and local AIA Honor Awards, authoring the winning entry for the Bagley Street Pedestrian Bridge as part of the $120 million Michigan Department of Transportation Ambassador Gateway Project and in June of 2003, was selected as one of eight international finalists out of 1,557 entries to present at the Grand Egyptian Museum Competition Symposium in Cairo, Egypt. In 2004 the firm was invited to participate, as one of 30 firms from around the world, in the prestigious Canadian Museum of Human Rights competition and recently received an honorable mention in the world-wide competition for the Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition in Shenzhen, China. In late 2010, a 2-phase international competition involving 47 firms from around the world was held to select an iconic pedestrian bridge design for the city of Providence, Rhode Island. The proposal submitted by inFORM studio was selected as the winning entry and is slated for completion in 2013.
In an effort to pursue a higher level of research and immerse our practice in an environmentally sustainable approach to every project, the firm formally changed the name to inFORM studio in early 2007. In March 2011, inFORM studio was selected as AIA Michigan Firm of the Year.
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