Randolph Tower Named 2013 Landmarks Illinois Project of the Year

September 11, 2013
The adaptive reuse of Randolph Tower transformed a dormant skyscraper into a vibrant residential community. After undergoing several renovations in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s, the forty-five-story high-rise, one of Chicago's finest 1920s-era skyscrapers, fell into a severely deteriorated state. When plans to rehabilitate the tower were finalized, nearly 60 percent of the building's facade was in disrepair. WJE, with Associate Principal Brett Laureys as Project Manager, led the facade restoration for the project. The dramatic rehabilitation, completed in 2012, was named Project of the Year in the 2013 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards.

Over the course of the two-year project, 14,000 terra cotta units were removed and replaced; another 10,000 terra cotta units were removed and reused; and 8,000 units were repaired in place. Additionally, two noteworthy features of the tower's original design were restored—the large, projecting terra cotta gargoyles at the 39th floor and the entire 1st floor storefront. Removed in the 1960s, new terra cotta gargoyles were sculpted based upon historic photographs. The retail storefront restoration included removal of granite panels added in the 1950s and the complete recreation of the original, ornate terra cotta based on the 1928 terra cotta shop drawings.

Randolph Tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 and certified in 2013. In a struggling economy, the rehabilitation project was a boost to the Chicago economy—creating jobs and a much needed addition to the rental apartment market in the Loop.

Learn more about WJE's work on Randolph Tower.

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