Bond Chapel Renovation Honored by American Institute of Architects

November 19, 2013

The recent renovation of Bond Chapel was recognized on Designnight, the Chicago-area chapter of the American Institute of Architect (AIA)’s annual awards night.

A brief ceremony to view the award and honor the work of the project members, including the architects, organ conservators, and campus partners, will be held on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, in Swift Hall's Common Room (1st floor). The award presentation will take place at our Wednesday Lunch; our guest speaker for lunch that day will be David Woodhouse, FAIA, of David Woodhouse Architects. Please join us -- visit the Wednesday Lunch page for details! 

The Bond Chapel Reneker Organ installation received a Special Recognition in the “Divine Detail” category. Margaret M. Mitchell, Dean and Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, Steve Wiesenthal, Senior Associate Vice President and University Architect, and Alicia Murasaki, Executive Director for Planning and Design, were present to receive the award on behalf of the University of Chicago.

The Reneker Memorial Organ, a baroque-style instrument dedicated in honor of the late Robert W. Reneker and Betty C. Reneker, was moved from the Chicago Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago’s Bond Chapel in 2012. It was officially installed in Bond Chapel on February 2, 2013.

In its new home, the organ sits naturally in the structurally reinforced loft on the east side of Bond Chapel, set comfortably against a panel of stained-glass windows. One AIA Chicago juror called this “a considered approach – a subtle intervention without destroying what was there.” “A sensitive integration of a giant piece into an intimate chapel setting,” another added.

Adding to the beauty of the organ installation, the University of Chicago Women’s Board generously funded new custom-made chairs in a style and finish honoring the traditions of the Chapel while making possible the flexible use of the building for new generations. Also new are meditation cushions and prayer rugs.

Thirty-five awards were presented in four categories: Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture, SustainABILITY Leadership, and Divine Detail. Juries of renowned architects from around the country selected the winners from a field of 269 entries.  Legendary Chicago architect, Stanley Tigerman (who is also a member of the Divinity School’s Visiting Committee), received a lifetime achievement award.

The architect on the project was David Woodhouse Architects; the contractor was Scale Construction. Consultants Matrix Engineering, Anne Kustner Lighting Design, Carl Giegold, Threshold Acoustics, and organ conservators Jeff Weiler & Associates were also recognized in the award.

Founded in 1869, AIA Chicago represents nearly 3,000 licensed architects, architectural interns and allied professionals in northeastern Illinois.  AIA Chicago is the second largest AIA chapter in the nation.