Fourth Presbyterian Church, a prominent religious institution located on Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile, is home to a congregation of over 6,000 members and has welcomed over 8 million visitors since it rebuilt on this site after the great Chicago fire.
Challenged by the congregation to create a modern building fitting to its unique context, designers of the new Gratz Center addition aimed to compliment rather than mimic. The building's vocabulary is modern, while its iconic weathered copper façade is rooted within the context of the existing structure's accessories'historic art installations, articulated lanterns, and decorative downspouts and dormers'and acts as a foil to the gothic sanctuary's highly articulated use of Indiana limestone.
Functionally, the creation of programmatic and spatial overlaps'interior/exterior, new/old, sacred/secular'on a constrained site addressed the complexities presented by a dynamic range of Gratz Center users and their diverse needs. The multi-level addition includes an innovative cultural and learning environment that is made up of 23 classrooms and a day school; 350 person chapel; dining facilities and a variety of social spaces.
Conceived from the need to better serve the community, the Gratz Center boldly looks toward the future while honoring the church's historic past.