Inspiration Kitchens - East Garfield Park Winner

SustainABILITY Leadership Award, Honor Award

Inspiration Kitchen involved the adaptive reuse of an uninhabited 1906 masonry building and the improvement of three vacant lots along an under-developed stretch of Lake Street in East Garfield Park. The facility is comprised of an eighty seat restaurant serving over 3000 subsidized meals per year to working poor families and market rate meals to the general public; a catering and training kitchen from which 16 students complete a thirteen week food service training program; and administrative spaces which support the non-profit organizationís community outreach programs. The program represents over $700,000 in new earning potential for the community.

Significant improvements were made to the building envelope to help achieve energy efficiency; the existing masonry walls and roof were made air-tight by using spray foam insulation; and thermally-superior acoustic windows and skylight units replaced the existing non-insulated units. Both south facing slopes of the roof monitors are filled with solar thermal panels which provide 7% of the building's total energy usage. A garden provides supplementary vegetables and herbs for the meals prepared.

The project has become a sheltered oasis for job creation and community nourishment, under the clatter of the elevated train, and within a neighborhood in real need of optimism.

Wheeler Kearns Architects
Inspiration Corporation
  • dbHMS
  • IFF
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • Threshold Acoustics
  • Wolff Landscape Architecture
General contractor
The Heartland Construction Group, Inc.
Chicago, Illinois