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Cantigny Park McCormick House

Wheaton, IL, United States

The Robert R. McCormick Museum, nestled in Cantigny Park in Wheaton Illinois, was the former home of the Journalism magnate and owner of the Chicago Tribune. McCormick established a legacy rooted in Chicago and dedicated his life to the newspaper and media industry, building communities, honoring veterans, and serving the City of Chicago as a civic leader. His home, constructed in 1896, then later expanded in 1934, was sculpted in the like of Palladian and Neo-Classicist design ideals originally by Charles Allerton Coolidge, offering cross-axial plan arrangements that lead to vistas of the lush gardens and landscaping of the Cantigny grounds.

However, the House was in need of some relevant updates to keep current with the present day use of the building, beyond a museum. The addition of updated exhibition spaces, multipurpose gathering and learning spaces, a modern catering kitchen, new vertical circulation, rotating exhibition space, offices, and boasting a 200+ person banquet hall tailored for large groups such as weddings or galas was necessary for the continued relevant life of the museum. By respecting the historic nature of the home and experience of the estate, the program shuffled the existing spaces within the original building footprint, and hoisted the large banquet hall to the 3rd floor, removing the existing roof as a continuation of the existing geometric shaping of the hipped gables and ridges. The new banquet hall also shifts the material palate to a transparent glass gem capturing 360 degree views of the park, while simultaneously maintaining the color of the existing roofing to seamless meld into the historic palate of the home. The new roof addition also is designed similarly to the structural shell of a plane fuselage, offering column free plan arrangements and uninterrupted views while maintaining a historically inspired geometric form. This new addition to the Cantigny grounds elevates the historical experience through a contemporary lens that soaks in the natural beauty of the surrounding gardens while honoring the McCormick legacy, ideals, and architecture.


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