We’ve gotten a lot done since 1919.
102 years. 19 presidents. Economic booms, recessions, the Great Depression, and a World War. Our firm has been in Chicago, providing services to our clients on a variety of noteworthy projects. Here are some of the highlights.
100 years ago, our firm’s founders, Maurice B. Rissman and Leo S. Hirschfeld, published this announcement in The American Contractor.
Hirschfeld & Rissman
Leo S. Hirschfeld (left) and Maurice B. Rissman (right). Photos taken in 1915 at the graduation from Armour Institute’s School of Architecture.
Luxury High-Rises Along Lake Shore Drive
2440 Lakeview Drive, Chicago – Completed 1927
Throughout the 1920s, Rissman & Hirschfeld was called on by developers to design several early highrises along Lake Shore Drive and Lincoln Park.
555 West Surf Street, Chicago – Completed 1924
By the 1920s, Lakeview–which was, at the turn of the century, coveted for its spaciousness relative to the city to the south–could no longer be considered “spacious,” but was certainly still fashionable. When the Hotel Surfridge (now the Willows Hotel) was built by Rissman & Hirschfeld in 1924, the residential hotel had to fit into a long and narrow lot at 555 West Surf Street.
1112-18 N. State Street, Chicago – Completed 1925
Rissman & Hirschfeld were the original designers of this iconic hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast. In 2016 the hotel was demolished, but the facade was saved and 18 story glass tower was constructed in the back. The hotel was renamed The Viceroy and is still an important part of the neighborhood.
Rissman and Meyer Houses
333 and 335 West Wellington Street, Chicago Completed 1926
An interesting study of the relationship between architect and client, one of these homes (slightly more modest) was designed for Maurice Rissman himself, and the other (more prominent, with limestone base and heavier window surrounds) was for client Oscar Meyer, a lawyer who is now, and perhaps then, mistaken for the meatpacker Oscar Mayer. Rissman owned the property that amounted to two lots, on which he built these simple Italianate villas.
3300 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago Completed 1928
Chicago apartment buildings became fancier as the 1920s careened toward the Great Depression. Rissman & Hirschfeld designed the building in a style using Beaux-Arts ornament, classical cornices, and regular fenestration. Most apartments in the co-op were for lessees, whose rents would go toward financing the building. Flats with light-filled sunrooms on the corner were more spacious and noble and reserved for buyers.
Milwaukee, Diversey, and Kimball Avenues, Chicago – Completed 1928
Chicago developers have always been drawn to six-corner sites where the city’s diagonal arteries intersect the orthagonal grid. In 1927, a group of ambitious investors purchased a significant part of the one at Milwaukee, Diversey, and Kimball and brought in Rissman & Hirschfeld to create a major commercial center. The project included a large department store on the west side of Milwaukee and an apartment-hotel across the street.
Davis Hotel / Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel
163 East Walton Place, Chicago – Completed 1927
Now known as the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, this elegant Gothic-Revival building encloses a lavish space, especially the distinctive Crystal Ballroom, which features Chicago’s only illuminated dance floor. Well known visitors to the hotel included Presidents Kennedy and NIxon, Muhammad Ali and Daryl Hannah. Hugh Hefner purchased the building in the 1970s and transformed it into the Playboy Hotel. It was restored in 1999 by Millennium Hotels.
WWII and Post-War Period
With the construction slowdown during the Second World War, Rissman & Hirschfeld survived by working on FHA financed projects and an addition to the Fox River Sanitarium in Batavia. Following the premature death of Maurice Rissman in 1942, the firm would go by “Leo S. Hirschfeld” for the time being.
Harold Pawlan, Martin Reinheimer
By 1950, Hirschfeld concluded that he needed a partner and approached Harold Pawlan (left), who had been practicing independently for the last 10 years. Also, in 1950 Martin Reinheimer (right) joins the firm.
”Hirshfeld & Pawlan”
Pawlan is named Hirschfeld’s partner in 1950.
850 N. Dewitt Place, Chicago – Completed 1952
Starting at the beginning of the 50’s Hirshfeld & Pawlan design host of residential high-rises located in Gold Coast and Sreeterville.
Blackhawk Restaurant, 139 N. Wabash, Chicago – Completed 1959
The press called Pawlan an architectural “whiz” for the innovative houses he built with passive solar principles and also for his interior design projects, often published, that made bold use of color. Pawlan’s modernist vision and his public relations savvy made Hirschfeld & Pawlan the choice in the 1960s when Playboy Enterprises redesigned its offices in the Palmolive Building.
Another high-profile commission, The Blackhawk restaurant, was located at 139 N. Wabash. Operating from 1920 to 1984, it was a nationally known venue famous for Big Band music and a signature “spinning salad bowl.”
“Hirschfeld, Pawlan & Reinheimer”
In 1961, Martin Reinheimer becomes a partner in Hirschfeld & Pawlan’s firm.
1440 North Lake Shore Drive
1440 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago – Completed 1961
“The Finest in Gracious Living” was how 1440 promoted itself. “Estate-sized bedrooms” were among the prominent features, along with the sawtooth facade designed to keep the building within the trapezoidal lot and offer more abundant sunlight and better lake views to the apartment homes.
Outer Drive East becomes first residential building east of Lake Shore Drive
400 East Randolph Street, Chicago – Completed 1964
The 955 unit, 40-story Outer Drive East was the firm’s largest commission to date, in 1961, and became the largest apartment building in the United States upon its completion in 1964. Built with air rights over the Illinois Central rail yard, Outer Drive East called on all the design and political magic that Chicago architecture could muster. It was a “machine for living,” to use Corbusier’s modern expression, with innovative radiant heating, central air conditioning, and even a new-fangled telephone system.
1040 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago – Completed 1967
When developer Albert Robin announced his intention to build the Carlyle, located where Michigan Avenue meets Lake Shore Drive, it elicited surprise and skepticism from people who knew real estate. It was a departure from the norm: a superdeluxe building, with condominiums targeted to buyers usually attracted to houses in the best suburbs.
“Hirschfeld Reinheimer Architects”
In 1968, Reinheimer was at the helm since Hirschfeld had mostly retired by this time, and Pawlan had left the company–though he still collaborated with his old firm on some projects that he designed which needed technical support.
”Reinheimer & Associates”
Following Leo Hirschfeld’s departure from the firm, Martin Reinheimer becomes the sole head of the firm. Martin was known and respected for his pragmatic approach to construction. Martin combined a builder’s love for materials with an engineer’s instinct for solutions that work. He expected everyone in his employ to share his enthusiasm for making buildings that function well.
151–155 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago – Completed 1982
1982 brought the completion of Doral Plaza at 151 North Michigan Avenue – the first project worked on by a young intern architect, Pat FitzGerald.
The FitzGerald Era Begins
Pat FitzGerald Named Partner
After six years as Reinheimer’s employee, Pat FitzGerald was made a partner in his mentor’s business in 1984 and the firm pursued new work in Lincoln Park and Lakeview–two neighborhoods experiencing a wave of new development.
“FitzGerald Associates Architects”
After Martin Reinheimer retires, Pat FitzGerald takes over as head of the firm, which becomes known as FitzGerald Associates Architects. Pat becomes a sole proprietor of sorts, but the firm’s long-term ethos remains: to serve clients from the first idea of a building to the final tile.
Loft Rehab Boom
Pat would become his own client in several projects, and his undertakings would help prove the viability of loft rehabs in Chicago. That success brought FitzGerald to the attention of more clients, especially those interested in loft conversions. Among these was Ron Shipka, head of Enterprise Companies, who was convinced that old industrial buildings could be repurposed to create exciting condominiums and, at the same time, exert a major impact on whole neighborhoods in one bold stroke. After renovating a number of smaller industrial buildings in otherwise residential neighborhoods, Shipka became confident enough to take on massive industrial structures and create entirely new residential neighborhoods.
Park Row, 1400–1500 South Indiana Avenue, Chicago Completed 1993
Centennial Court, 1300 Prairie Avenue, Chicago Completed 1994
Park Row and Centennial Court were among the first communities to be developed in the highly successful Central Station community. The site once housed the Illinois Central Railroad Station and its surrounding railyards built on reclaimed lakefront in 1892. The station was demolished in 1974, and planning for the 80-acre Central Station development was started in 1988.
West Loop Office
In 2000, FitzGerald moved its offices to its current location at 912 West Lake Street. The building was built in 1886 for Davis & Rankin Manufacturing Company, which specialized in dairy processing equipment. Notably, in 1895 Arnold Schwinn of Schwinn bicycles fame started his factory here.
South Halsted Street and West 15th Place, Chicago – Completed 2007
This project represents the final piece of a larger public/ private planning venture on land surrounding and designed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago campus as the University sought to convert itself from a commuter-centric institution to a fully residential university. FitzGerald would go on to design several phases of development at University Village over the next two decades, including loft conversions, new construction multifamily, walk-up flats, townhomes, and luxury single-family homes.
One River Place
Chicago Avenue and Larrabee Street, Chicago – Completed 2002
FitzGerald Associates Architects provided architectural services in the adaptive reuse of the nine-story Montgomery Ward Merchandise Building—originally constructed by Montgomery Ward as the headquarters for his burgeoning catalog company.
Highland Park and Highwood, Chicago – Completed 2003
Converting decommissioned military bases is inevitably a complex and slow process, but, in the case of Fort Sheridan on the edge of Highland Park and Highwood, it was worth the trouble. FitzGerald converted the 800-foot-long, three-story Holabird & Roch-designed infantry barracks into a modern community of residences, with large windows overlooking the pristine 50-acre parade ground. Living spaces are luxurious with 10- to 20-foot-high ceilings, exposed brick walls, stripped woodwork, and flowing space adapted from the original utilitarian structure.
Pat FitzGerald Names Mike DeRouin and Rick Whitney Partners in the Firm
Michael De Rouin and Richard Whitney became equity partners in the firm charged with upholding the firm’s strong tradition of high quality, client-focused architectural design.
The Parkside of Old Town
Division and Larrabee Streets, Chicago – Completed 2008
The program for Parkside of Old Town was one of the more daunting ever presented to FitzGerald when the team of Kenard Management and Holsten Development brought the project to the firm. But FitzGerald had seen many such challenges before. With 790 condominiums and townhouses on an 18-acre tract, the project was large but not unmanageable. The plan involved re-establishing the traditional Chicago grid, which had been broken up when the city sited the public housing development Cabrini-Green there in the 1960s.
Built on the site of a burned-out former CTA rail yard, Wilson Yard became an anchor for the Uptown community. The development created 80 affordable senior residences and 100 affordable family-oriented apartments atop a host of neighborhood-scale retail spaces and included Target’s first stacked, urban big box location.
Church Street, Glenview – Completed 2015
While much of FitzGerald’s legacy has been in urban housing throughout Chicago’s CBD and neighborhoods, the firm also emerged as a leader in a new kind of luxury, transit-oriented product for well-connected suburbs along commuter rail lines. Midtown Square brought residences, retail, and parking to a prominent intersection in downtown Glenview, Illinois. Developed in response to competing shopping districts in the area, the mixed-use site has proven to be a successful catalyst for the rejuvenation of their aging downtown.
James Broughton, Steven McFadden, & Tim Blatner Elevated to Leadership and Partnership
The firm named James Broughton, AIA and Steven McFadden Principals and Design Directors, furthering the firm’s effort to develop the company’s reputation as a design force in Chicago architecture.
Tim Blatner was named Principal and Technical Director, bolstering the company’s commitment to superior documentation and adoption of cutting-edge materials, products, and detailing. Some months later, in 2016, all three were made equity principals in the firm.
Stony Island Arts Bank
6760 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago – Completed 2015
The Stony Island project tapped FitzGerald’s experience in restoration, and, in a more remote way, harkened to its distant past when it designed with glazed terra cotta façades, in which this 1923 bank is clad. The architectural team had to stabilize the building, replace huge sash windows, repair terra cotta, and restore a once-fine cast-iron entry, which had been covered up and “modernized” with slabs of granite—and do all of it according to the strictest historic preservation standards.
215 West Adams Street, Chicago – Completed 2015
The Arkadia project heralded not only the beginning of an economic recovery for FitzGerald, but also a period in which high-rise residential architecture would become a more important typology for the firm.
Kristen Larkin Joins Firm as Associate Principal, Leads Interior Design Efforts
Kristen Larkin, ASID, joined FitzGerald as an Associate Principal focused on Interior Design for multifamily projects, commercial offices, and hospitality properties.
3Eleven delivers 245 sleek, sophisticated apartments to Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The 24-story transit-oriented building contains a mixture of studio, one-, and two-bedroom units along with a few three-bedroom units on upper floors. From the engaging steel and glass lobby to incredible indoor and outdoor rooftop amenities, 3Eleven delivers a standard of living that rivals any found in or around Chicago’s Loop.
Michael Breclaw joins firm as Principal & Equity Partner
Michael Breclaw, AIA, LEED AP joined partners Patrick FitzGerald, Michael DeRouin CSI CCCA, Richard Whitney, Timothy Blatner, CSI, CDT, LEED AP and Steven D. McFadden, NCARB as the firm’s ownership group.
727 West Madison
727 West Madison (formerly known as One South Halsted) is a 45-story, 492-unit luxury rental tower with more than 10,000 square feet of retail space. At just under 500 feet, it is the tallest building in Chicago’s West Loop as of early 2018.
FitzGerald, like companies and individuals all over the world, faced the COVID-19 pandemic head-on. FitzGerald took swift steps to protect staff and clients by embracing remote technologies that were already beginning to deploy throughout the firm, and developed new collaboration methods to maintain and strengthen firm culture while providing the necessary precautions to maintain full operations.
In 2021, FitzGerald named Chief Operating Officer Kathy Graham an equity partner of the firm. Kathy became the first non-architect, and the first woman, to become an equity partner in the firm’s 102-year history.