This essay documents the research of restoration and modifications to Mies van der Rohe’s masterwork, Crown Hall, the heart of the Chicago campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Restoration was necessitated by 5 decades of use during which the building had fallen into major disrepair. During the restoration, practical and philosophical issues arose from the building’s landmark designation by regional and national authorities. The essay describes the forensic research that preceded design, investigation and selection of alternate materials modifications to the building envelope. This includes a detailed description of modifications balancing original materials and systems with current codes. The essay concludes by placing the restoration of Crown Hall in the larger context of preservation of modern buildings and the threat to these works which, unlike Crown Hall, are rarely protected by landmark designation.
Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Mies van der Rohe, International Style, Rehabilitation of modern architecture, Chicago modern architecture, S. R. Crown Hall.