Built in 1912 as one of Chicago's most distinguished office buildings, the Monroe Building had aged and faced being converted into a condominium and parking facility. When the current owners purchased the building, they saw the potential of this architectural gem and committed to a complete renovation and restoration on a scale rarely attempted.
The historic elements of the Romanesque building, including the façade, were repaired or restored to the highest of preservation standards. The original roof was restored to its original profiles, re-clad with custom tiles matching the original, and manufactured by the original manufacturer. New skylights were installed in the configuration and locations of the originals with modern, energy-efficient aluminum and glass components.
Vital building equipment, including the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and fire protection systems were replaced. Previously, the mechanical, electrical, and phone systems were distributed from a single location in the basement. An obsolete and original light court was utilized to accommodate the new state-of-the-art mechanical equipment and also provided room required for new restrooms, egress stars, and additional life safety features. Metal entrances were recreated based on the original drawings.
The interior renovation includes restoration of the ground floor lobby. Rookwood tile walls, vaults, and the entire floor were restored with replacement tile manufactured by Rookwood to match the original materials. Tenant elevator lobbies were restored throughout the building, reestablishing the original elevator grillages and tile floors.
The resulting project combines the best elements of meticulous restoration with modernization to meet the demands of a building built for the future.