In 1995, FitzGerald provided design services on the adaptive reuse of a silver merchant’s building in Jeweler’s Row into the Silversmith Hotel, a 143-room boutique hotel on Wabash Street in Chicago’s Loop.
Originally designed by Burnham and Root in 1896 as a center for silversmiths and merchants who manufactured jewelry and decorative arts, the ten-story building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few surviving works by that firm that reflect the English Arts and Crafts style.
The owner wished to renovate the building to a hotel with meeting facilities and ground-floor commercial lease space including a restaurant. FitzGerald’s response was to retrofit a 143-room boutique hotel with its lobby and meeting rooms on the second floor and guest rooms on floors 3 through 10. Original interiors had been removed so new interior spaces were designed in the Arts and Crafts style, with dark oak trim and wood work, period reproduction wall coverings and light fixtures, and Stickley-inspired furniture and cabinetry to create a graciously timeless oasis for visitors to Chicago.
Controlling noise from the nearby elevated tracks was a particular concern which had to be balanced with the goal of historic restoration of the façade. Our solution was to repair or replace in-kind the original wood windows on the exterior while installing new aluminum sash on the interior to provide an air space between the windows for excellent sound control. New Terra Cotta to replace missing or damaged pieces was cast from new molds to restore the Wabash Street elevation to its original appearance.
The building was rehabilitated in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and FitzGerald was instrumental in both this compliance and the placing of the building on the National Register of Historic Places.