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Restoring a community gathering place.


The Chicago Federal Center Plaza unifies a complex of three government buildings, serves as the roof for the sub-plaza levels of the surrounding buildings, and is also a community gathering place. Over time, its existing membrane failed, requiring a restoration involving the disassembly of thousands of granite pavers. Working with the General Services Administration (GSA), we developed a solution that meets modern energy, accessibility, and security requirements, while respecting the original design.

Tailoring the Solution

Historic preservation using modern technology.

Using a high-definition laser scanner, we collected 500 scans to capture existing conditions and developed a 3D building information model to facilitate preparation of the demolition design and construction documents.

Chicago Federal Plaza Single Image 1

The restoration required the deconstruction of the granite paver plaza, the installation of a waterproofing and thermal insulation system, and reconstruction of the plaza in accordance with historic preservation requirements.

Chicago Federal Plaza Single Image 2

Our design achieved a 367% increase in the thermal performance of the deck assembly. The restored plaza maintains its minimalist nature, while serving today’s energy, accessibility, and security needs.

Chicago Federal Plaza Single Image 3