International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134, Chicago
ARCHITECT AND GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Wight & Co., Chicago
METAL PANEL INSTALLER: Architectural Panel Systems Inc., Naperville, Ill.
METAL PANEL ENGINEERING AND FABRICATION: Sobotec Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
The modern façade is clad in nearly 24,000 square feet of 4-millimeter Alucobond PLUS aluminum composite material (ACM), including 19,873 square feet of Custom Ridgedale Silver, 2,327 square feet of Custom Gray Velvet Mica and 1,747 square feet of Bone White.
“The Alucobond ACM panel was selected as the ‘wrapper’ of the building because it gave us a clean and modern finish that would help emphasize the massing, as well as the slim profile that was crucial to the architectural concept,” explains Milica “Mimi” Stojsavljevic, project designer, Wight & Co. “The module we wanted to work with was fairly large and Alucobond ACM was able to achieve this. The custom colors were so helpful; it gave us endless opportunity in color selection.” The Custom Ridgedale Silver and Custom Gray Velvet Mica Alucobond colors were selected to create a two-tone subtle backdrop to reflect the building’s light feature, according to Stojsavljevic.
Alucobond panels also were installed in IBEW’s headquarters’ interior areas “where we were trying to mimic some of the exterior architecture,” Stojsavljevic says.
“Alucobond allowed them to keep the aesthetics and come in at budget,” says Ross Boehmer, president of Architectural Panel Systems. “We could install much larger panels with joints where they wanted them.”
“This design required very long panels,” adds Vlad Sobot, president of Sobotec Ltd., recalling the majority of the 1,085 Alucobond panels measured 5 feet by 12 feet and ranged up to 16 feet in length. “If we used any cladding material other than Alucobond, it would show a great deal of oil canning.”
Sobotec’s team developed engineering plans that included the installation of aluminum stiffeners behind the Alucobond panels. “To achieve this design properly, you have to introduce stiffeners on these large panels,” Sobot notes. “That’s no easy task because they can read through. This installation with Alucobond does not. It looks simple, but it’s not.”
ACM MANUFACTURER: 3A Composites USA
IBEW members celebrated the grand opening of their new headquarters and union hall in May 2018. The renovation project has been described in glowing terms that are reflective not only of the building’s light-filled architectural design but of its significant impact on the surrounding Bronzeville neighborhood revitalization.
The $25-million project—totaling approximately 70,000 square feet—is a retrofit of the Chicago Public Schools’ 1960s-era, 48,000-square-foot Drake Elementary School, as well as 22,000 square feet of new construction. To achieve IBEW’s design goals for the old school, Stojsavljevic said the decision was made to demolish everything but the concrete structure and to rebuild the exterior skin and interiors. A 5-foot cavity between the renovated school building and the newly constructed union hall and lobby was designed to serve as a chase for oversized ductwork running to the lobby.
Demolition began in January 2017 with a tight schedule requiring renovated offices to be ready in September 2017 and the newly constructed union hall and lobby completed in March 2018.
PHOTOS: Paul Schlismann Photography, courtesy of Wight & Co.