Poetry Foundation Chicago, John Ronan Architects

Poetry Foundation, Chicago, West Superior Street Building, Architecture, Photos, Design

Poetry Foundation Chicago : Building

Poetry Foundation Building, Illinois – design by John Ronan Architects

Dec 14, 2011

Poetry Foundation

Chicago, Illinois

Design: John Ronan Architects

Photos: Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing

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Project Description

The new home for the Poetry Foundation is comprised of a building in dialogue with a garden which is created through erosion of an implied volume as described by the L-shaped property boundary. The garden space, which formally interlocks with the enclosed building, is conceived as another “room” of the building, and part of the building’s slowly-unfolding spatial sequence, which is revealed space by space, not unlike a poem is revealed line by line.

Visitors enter the project through the garden, an urban sanctuary that mediates between the street and enclosed building. Entering the garden, visitors perceive the double-height library space, announcing that they are entering into a literary environment. Inside the building, an exhibition gallery connects the library to the performance space, where visitors listen to poets read their work against the backdrop of the garden.

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Public functions—the performance space, gallery and library—are located on the building’s ground floor, while offices space are located on the second level, organized into three areas (Foundation Administration, Poetry magazine/website, and Programs). The building is configured to allow for views from all spaces into the garden.

Tectonically, the building is conceived of as a series of layers that visitors move through and between. Layers, of zinc, glass, and wood, peel apart to define the various spaces of the building. The building’s outer layer of oxidized zinc becomes perforated where it borders the garden, allowing visual access to the garden from the street to encourage public investigation. Inside the garden, the zinc screen wall serves to internalize the garden experience and provide a sense of removal, to prepare visitors for the experience inside.

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Poetry Foundation – Building Information

Formal name of building: Poetry Foundation
Location: 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654
Completion Date: Jun 2011
Gross square footage: 26,000 sf (including garden)
Total construction cost: $10.2 million
Owner: Poetry Foundation
Architect: John Ronan Architects, Chicago

Personnel in architect’s firm who should receive special credit:
John Ronan AIA, Lead Designer [registered architect]
Tom Lee, Project Architect
Evan Menk, Senior Technical Coordinator
John Trocke (design team), Marcin Szef (design team), Wonwoo Park (design team)

Interior designer: John Ronan Architects
Graphic Designer: John Ronan Architects

Engineers:
Structural: Arup
MEPFP: dbHMS
Civil: Terra Engineering, Ltd.

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Consultants:
Landscape: Reed Hilderbrand Associate, Inc.
Lighting: Charter Sills
Acoustical: Threshold Acoustics LLC

General contractor: Norcon, Inc.
Program Manager: U.S. Equities Realty

Photographer: Steve Hall Hedrich Blessing
Credit: Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

CAD system, project management, or other software used: AutoCAD 2010; AutoDesk VIZ 2007; Adobe Photoshop CS3; Adobe Illustrator CS3; Adobe InDesign CS3

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Poetry Foundation Chicago images / information from John Ronan Architects

John Ronan Architects


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