Apartment Building in Chicago’s West Town District Honored
By Metal Construction Association

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- October 14, 2015 – An apartment building in Chicago’s West Town, 1611 West Division, has been honored with the Metal Construction Association’s (MCA) 2015 Chairman’s Award in the residential category.

The 11-story building includes 99 residential units above its first floor, which has spaces reserved for commercial use. Committees and designers spent long hours to get the 1611 West Division building project off the ground. The site was previously the address of a one-story Pizza Hut built in 1983. After it was demolished in 2012, developers Paul Utigard and Rob Buono decided to construct an impressive 11-story, metal-and-glass, LEED-silver compliant apartment building in its place, which is now a landmark for the neighborhood. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

The building’s faceted façade inverts down to the sidewalk to broaden the pedestrian experience while providing cover under a sculptural aluminum canopy. Rather than a conventional all glass facade, the exterior is a balance of glass and insulated opaque panels offering light and views while improving the buildings overall thermal performance by 81% and reducing solar heat gain by 58%. While there are many ways to accomplish this, architect Wheeler Kearns wanted the building envelope to create a sense of presence that would identify with the character and individuality of the people living in this progressive community.

BENCHMARK by Kingspan Designwall 1000 insulated architectural metal panels were chosen to clad the apartment building. Kingspan is the MCA member manufacturer on the project. The BENCHMARK metal panels are laminated panels with an expanded polystyrene core. These panels were specified to create the insulated metal panel system functions as an affordable rain screen wall system that offers impressive curb appeal and excellent thermal performance. To complete the look it was installed with Kingspan custom flashing products.

By specifying with this single-component wall system, the design team saved substantial installation costs. Faster on-site installation time compared to traditional multi-part exterior walls helped the 1611 West Division project stay on schedule, while reducing the building's overall demand for energy. Because these insulated metal panels weigh only three pounds per square foot, transport costs and installation energy were reduced. Insulated metal panels (IMPs) ease the critical path of construction, as they are easier to detail and attach, which tightened the build schedule and decreased installation errors.

“There’s Intelligentsia with this thin metal canopy that projects out and that’s hard to do in our climate because it collects snow and rain. It takes a creative structural engineer. A daring one too,” says architect Michael Fitzgerald, AIA, Principal, MCA judge.

In direct response to the neighborhood and city, the project eliminates parking for residents, creating a development marketed entirely towards mass transit goers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. It also addresses the larger environmental goal of providing higher density housing and services without adding undesired traffic. The project is a rare example of cooperation and collaboration between community, municipality, developer, and architect that embodies the vision and mission of Wheeler Kearns Architects.

The award was announced at METALCON, the metal construction industry’s annual tradeshow and conference held at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida October 12-14. The Chairman’s Awards are given to the year’s most exceptional building projects involving MCA member companies based on overall appearance, significance of metal in the project, innovative use of metal, and the role of metal in achieving project objectives.

Recipients for these awards are selected each year from projects submitted by MCA members to Metal Architecture Magazine’s annual Design Awards Program. The honorees were chosen by a panel of professional architects, which included Elaine Fitzgerald, AIA, CCS, ArchiTech Consulting, Inc., Mount Prospect, IL; Michael G. Fitzgerald, AIA, Principal, OKW Architects, Chicago, IL; and Ted Haug, AIA, LEED AP, Legat Architects, Chicago, IL.

The MCA Chairman’s Awards were given in eight categories: commercial/industrial; education, colleges and universities; education, primary and secondary schools; institutional; metal roofing; municipal; and residential. The judges also recognized a project with an award for overall excellence.

METALCON is the only event dedicated to metal construction products, technologies, and solutions.

Project Recognition

MCA member manufacturer: Kingspan Insulated Panels
Architect: Ryan Stojkovich, Wheeler Kearns Architects
Contractor: Power Construction Co.
Metal Installer: Hill Architectural Systems

About the Metal Construction Association

The Metal Construction Association brings together a diverse industry for the purpose of expanding the use of metal in construction through marketing, research, technology, and education. Companies involved in MCA gain tremendous benefit from association activities that focus on research, codes and standards, market development, and technical programs. MCA’s market development efforts increase the use of metal materials in construction through the education of the building and design communities about the benefits of metal.