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Live/Work Gallery

P. K. VanderBeke

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Project Name

Live/Work Gallery

Project Status



  • Patricia VanderBeke, AIA


  • General Contractor: John Cook
  • Building Enclosure/Artwork: Dan Mackessy

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Project Description

From AIA Chicago:

The challenge: to create a functional and sustainable live/work gallery in a century old factory space while retaining the character of "a romantic ruin" that had initially attracted the client. The solution: existing finishes were stabilized and retained while new construction worked from a palette of steel, concrete, and glass to evoke the building's industrial past. The steel clad fireplace and closet enclosure sit away from the walls like artifacts left behind by former occupants. Large galvanized electrical pipe acts as wiremold and baseboard. Stairs and walkways were fabricated of industrial steel grating carefully chosen so the owner (and his dog) feel comfortable going barefoot on them. The removal of a portion of a windowless second floor addition to create a terrace and the enlargement of window openings into doors on the first floor invite additional natural light into the space while celebrating the courtyard where paving was reduced to add greenspace and allow runoff to be accommodated on site. The living space is separated thermally and acoustically from the gallery and garage spaces below by a new stairwell enclosure. Heavy industrial felt curtains on exterior openings insulate the occupants from heat loss, light, and sound when they so desire.

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