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Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicaco opened


Chicaco, Krueck, Sexton

The new building of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies at 610 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago has opened on Friday, November 30. The new 10 storey facility of the eighty-year old institution was designed by Chicago firm Krueck & Sexton Architects.

The building is a mixed-use program containing exhibition galleries, library, 400-seat multi-use auditorium, college classrooms and administrative offices as well as a children’s centre, kosher cafe and gift shop. The contemporary design of the new Spertus is set in a 19th Century streetscape of masonry buildings designed by historic names such as Burnham, Sullivan, and Holabird & Roche.

Fundamental to Jewish religious and intellectual traditions is the role of light.
The transparent facade glows with light, both natural and man-made, offering a literal „window“ into the world of Jewish learning and culture und thus providing an invitation to come inside and engage in the educational and cultural programming that Spertus offers.
From the inside the building offers great views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

„The composition of the Spertus façade will change depending on the sun’s position, with facets simultaneously transparent, reflective, translucent, and opaque. When panels reflect, they will mirror the building‘s magnificent setting of sky, sun, and the greenery of Grant Park. At night, the building‘s interior light will emit a warm glow,“ says Mark Sexton, who, with Ronald Krueck, is principal of Krueck & Sexton Architects.

The surface of the façade is constantly tilting in three dimensions, resulting in inpidual units of glass that are parallelograms rather than rectangles, altogether 726 windows in hundreds of different shapes.
As an insulated glass unit and a 1“ silicone joint are the only two components keeping wind and moisture from entering the building, a wall mock-up was tested for leakage at Construction Consulting Laboratory in Texas in the spring of 2006.

The new Spertus facility complies with the Silver Level of the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED Rating System.
The glass façade uses low-E coating, a fritted dot pattern, and internal shades to control heat gain and glare. A 6,700-square-foot green roof manages storm water, absorbs air pollution, and keeps the building cool in the summer, helping mitigate the urban heat effect.
A variety of measures, including high performance lighting and demand base ventilation, help further reducing the building’s energy consumption. Water-saving fixtures are used throughout. The quality of the building’s indoor air is ensured by the use of healthy materials, high-efficiency air filtration, and special humidity controls, providing for the well-being of staff, students, and visitors, as well as the long-term preservation of the Institute’s archival treasures.
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