The Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center
Chicago, Illinois / United States of America
As membership and outreach grew at Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, it became increasingly difficult space-wise to meet the needs of both the congregation and the community. The design challenge was clear from the start – how to add future-proof space while honoring an historic past – and the Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center was born: A 76,200 square foot building designed to tie together the old and the new by using modern interpretations of the existing gothic architecture.
The historic church is adorned with copper downspouts, lanterns, and dormers; when used as exterior cladding on the new Gratz Center, the accessory material becomes a focus. The east and west façades are largely glass, allowing for unique framed views of the city; at night, the internal light of the Gratz Center gleams like a beacon, backlighting the original church. And the interior design reflects an attention to detail driven as much by use and purpose as it is by aesthetics.
Set against a bustling backdrop of Michigan Avenue commerce, the final project melds the original church with the Gratz Center addition for one presentation to fit the community: tailored, flexible, and adaptable.