IIT Smart Grid Technical Center “Deep Wall”

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

This project renovates an existing research lab space into a demonstration and training center for Smart Grid technology, a "green" electrical energy initiative that employs digital technology to distribute electricity as efficiently and economically as possible. Dark corridors with cinder block-lined walls are replaced with glazed partitions to allow daylight to penetrate deep into the floor plate, reducing the energy demand for lighting and at the same time opening up views to the campus and city.

Existing electrical risers which compromised the elevator lobby width had to remain in place for reasons of cost, so the architect created a "deep wall" comprised of layers of tinted and mirrored glass to increase the perceived width of the space and depth of the wall. Existing in-wall conduit were exposed to view and supplemented with conduit of various diameters to celebrate electrical distribution, the center's raison d'etre. Graphics related to energy production on the back side of the tinted glazing add another layer to the assembly. Stainless steel frames and elevator jamb returns enclose the deep wall and play off the in-wall conduit finish.

Architect of record

John Ronan
John Ronan Architects
420 West Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60654, USA
Phone: 312-951-6600
Fax: 312-951-6544

General contractor

Tim Puntillo
Bulley & Andrews, LLC
1755 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622, USA
Phone: 773-645-5813

Consultant 1

Bob Magruder
Goodfriend Magruder Structure LLC
53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 352
Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Phone: 312-265-2645

Consultant 2

James Shults
Grumman/Butkus Associates
820 Davis Street, Suite 300
Evanston, IL 60201, USA
Phone: 847-316-9247

Consultant 3

Carl Giegold
Threshold Acoustics LLC
53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 815
Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Phone: 312-386-1400


Steve Hall
Hedrich Blessing Photographers
400 North Peoria Street
Chicago, IL 60642, USA
Phone: 312-491-1101