Glenbard West High School Expansion Wins Excellence in Masonry Award
Masonry Advisory Council honors “clean, handsome” expansion to 96-year-old high school
In the spring of 2014, it was not uncommon to see Legat Architects’ Rob Wroble circling Glenbard West High School and holding brick samples against its near century-old façade. Over one month, Wroble would end up testing 25 different bricks.
The reason for this analysis was an addition for which Wroble was the architectural project manager.
“We had to understand how the new brick would look on overcast and sunny days, and how it would look from different vantage points around the building,” said Wroble. “A lot of thought went into getting the right blend and the right shade of red.”
Today, as drivers head southwest on Crescent Boulevard, they pass a large, grassy hill. From its top extend the brick walls of the Glenbard West High School expansion, designed by Legat and built by Walsh Group.
The Illinois/Indiana Masonry Council and the Masonry Advisory Council honored the project with a 2018 Excellence in Masonry Award. The competition, judged by a panel of well-respected architects, “recognizes architectural design excellence” among projects constructed mostly of masonry, completed between 2014 and 2017, and located in 37 counties in northern and central Illinois or northwest Indiana. Glenbard won best project in the Educational – High School Addition/Renovation category.
Watch the video below to see how the Legat team used brick in what juror Brian Bedrosian called “a clean, handsome solution” that respects the 100-year-old high school.
Each submission was judged on distinguishing details, composition, and the artful use of masonry to contribute to a successful aesthetic.
A Respectful Addition
The 26,000-square-foot Glenbard West expansion reduces overcrowding, centralizes the science department, and gives a nod to the historic architectural style of the school.
“The key challenge was honoring the traditional Collegiate Gothic aesthetic, while giving the addition its own personality,” said Legat’s Steve Blye. “The masonry that we selected complements, but doesn’t copy the brick on the existing structure.”
Blye and Wroble also investigated limestone (used on the original facility) for some of the expansion’s façade highlights. The options turned out to be too white and too new looking. Instead, the duo decided on cast stone—not only did it allow more control over color selection, but it also saved the district construction dollars.
Juror Brian Bedrosian said, “The integrated use of brick and glass and respect for the existing structure was very well done.” He also commented on the inventive use of a different module of brick than the original school to create a more efficient design.
Masonry highlights at the Glenbard West addition include the following:
- Patterned and color-blended brick placed in a Flemish bond pattern harmonizes with the original facility.
- Two-sided, angled piers catch sunlight and cast shadows differently while mimicking the rectangular buttresses on the existing school.
- Tinted cast stone detailing replicates the original limestone color.
- Energy-efficient glazing panels reflect sky and masonry of existing historic structure.
The project’s masonry contractor was Iwanski Masonry and the supplier was Illinois Brick.
Get the complete story and see additional photos of the Glenbard West High School expansion.
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