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