Building upon heritage. Inspiring new beginnings.

We’re pleased to congratulate Gensler for their work on the Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. Last month, the building earned a 2015 Design Excellence Award from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Gensler, led by architect Brian Vitale, designed the Gratz Center—a five-story, 82,000 square foot addition—with a modern interpretation of the existing architecture, staying true to the original building’s legacy. 

Bridging the old and new with the innovative—yet timeless—use of wood and copper, Gensler created a community space that serves an expanding congregation and houses a preschool program, dining room and kitchen, offices, and rooms for Sunday school, tutoring, adult education, fellowship, and more.

The jewel of the modern addition is the chapel. According to Chicago Architectmagazine, “With a labyrinth inlaid on its floor, a warm wall of un-weathered copper and windows that reveal the urban surroundings, the chapel is haven of repose in a bustling neighborhood.” 

 CharterSills was honored to provide lighting consultation for the project. The copper wall is accentuated with linear LED fixtures, concealed in an architectural ceiling cove. Vertical lensed wall slots allow filtered daylight into the space, and at night the slots are backlit with floor to ceiling LED strips. While general lighting is achieved with recessed downlights, a layer of sparkle is added with several incandescent pendants hanging from the chapel ceiling.

Again, congratulations to Gensler. With the addition of the Gratz Center, Fourth Presbyterian truly lives up to its description: “A Light in the City Since 1871.”