The Graeme Stewart School, formerly a Chicago Public School, at 4525 N. Kenmore Avenue in Uptown has been successfully adaptively reused as 64 residential luxury apartments. Leasing is underway and it will be opened in mid-April as the ‘Stewart School Lofts’. Stewart School is a Designated Chicago Landmark.
Designed by highly regarded Chicago architect Dwight H. Perkins in 1905, the Arts & Crafts school building has been vacant since 2013 when it was closed, along with 49 other CPS buildings. Perkins designed a many outstanding Chicago Public Schools including the Designated Chicago Landmark Carl Schurz High School, Lyman Trumbull Elementary School, William Rainey Harper High School (Chicago 7 2018) and many others.
The developer is Morningside Group and the architect Pappageorge Haymes Partners. “It’s been a wonderful experience to go through the building and see all these details that we could bring back to life,” said Mary Ellen Martin, executive vice president of the development firm Morningside Group. (Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 3/14/18)
The development team made a concerted efforts to preserve and incorporate historic elements into finished development. Some units have 20 foot ceilings, brick walls, original hardwood flooring, wall mounted chalkboards, transom glass and classroom doors with hand-painted numbers, and arches and ornate ceiling details in the four apartments built in the former auditorium. Balconies were built on the rear elevation and a rooftop deck is open to all residents. The building is less than a block from the beautifully rehabbed Wilson station on the Red Line and the Uptown Square Historic Landmark District.
Preservation Chicago applauds developer Morningside Group and the architect Pappageorge Haymes Partners for an outstanding project. This is an excellent example of how adaptive reuse can reinvigorate historic structures. It also demonstrates how the inherent authenticity of historic structures can result in more interesting, unique, desirable, and ultimately successful finished projects than comparable new construction.
Preservation Chicago had supported the reuse of this architecturally significant former school building. We also supported this development with testimony before the Commission of Chicago Landmarks.