The University of Chicago
The School of Social Service Administration Construction and Restoration
Berglund built this Mies van der Rohe masterpiece in the 1960s and restored it forty years later.
  • Project Type
    • Restoration
  • Status
  • Delivery Method
    • Construction Management At-Risk
  • Services
  • Location
    • Chicago, IL
  • Duration
    • 4 months
  • Architect
    • Krueck and Sexton Architects
Project Overview 

The School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago is known as one of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most important civic and architectural contributions to the City of Chicago. Berglund completed construction on the iconic building in 1965. Forty years later, a new generation of Berglund craftspeople restored the building, most notable for its enormous lobby and glass-paneled exterior.

Approach

During a 15-week project, the building was repainted, fitted with new glass and “restored to its original luster,” in the words of Rico Cedro of the Chicago firm Krueck and Sexton Architects, which partnered with Berglund on the project. The work included removal and replacement of all glass, including restoration of all steel wall elements. 

Mies was known for trademark black buildings, but the paint he originally used can no longer be duplicated. For health reasons, the lead coating was removed from the original steel. SSPC SP-10 surface preparation was required for the new, lead-free Tnemec Coating System. New glazing stops were fabricated and installed.

Outcomes

Jeanne Marsh, the dean of the School of Social Service Administration, expressed her excitement about the project as her school prepared to use the newly restored building.

“Faculty, staff and students are enthusiastic about launching the school year and the celebration of the school's centennial in the sparkling, renovated Mies Building ­— a building with open architecture that is iconic for the high levels of interaction and engagement required for social service scholarship and professional training," she said.

The paint that Mies orig­i­nal­ly used can no longer be dupli­cat­ed because of its lead content. Instead, we installed a new, lead-free Tnemec Coating System after removing the the lead coating from the steel.

From the Team
Jack Tribbia

This project truly tells the story of who Berglund is: A company that can be entrusted to both build preserve an iconic archi­tec­tur­al structure.

President-Restoration Division