Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning & Leadership

Chicago, IL

The first building to be built in many years in the Michigan Boulevard Historic District, Spertus is characterized by a dynamically transparent glass front façade. Its contemporary design celebrates the organization's culture and learning, hope and openness — a beacon of light for learning. 

Conceived of as a vertical campus, Spertus Institutes’s 10-story building holds a 415-seat multi-use theater, college classrooms, a family and children’s center, administrative offices, Asher Library, and museum. 

The budget was tight and dictated the design in several ways: the façade was purchased before the design was complete — so coordination with the manufacturer determined the design of custom mullions and the glass structure. Providing this early kept the project on budget + schedule. 

Finish selections were minimized to a few essential types; painted drywall and concrete floors, to maintain the budget and allow for flexible uses between spaces. The finishes are eco-friendly, selected for durability, maintainability, and for user health and wellbeing.

LEED® Silver BD+C New Construction



Commission on Chicago Landmarks | Preservation Excellence
Crystal Achievement Award | Most Innovative Curtain Wall
Chicago Architecture Foundation | Patron of the Year
AIA Illinois Chapter | Louis Sullivan
AIA Chicago Chapter | Divine Detail Award
AIA Chicago Chapter| Distinguished Building Award
Chicago Commercial Real Estate Build to Suit Project of the Year
Interior Design Magazine | Best Building of the Year Award
Chicago Athenaeum | American Architecture Award

Photography: William Zbaren + Kendall McCaugherty / Hall + Merrick Photographers


Glasworks Video:


Lunch Talks @ CAF: Spertus Institute

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