Automatic Lofts

automatic-lofts-300Automatic Lofts

401 South Morgan

Chicago, IL 60607

 Built: 1901

Original Architect: 

Restoration Architect: Mary Brush, Brush Architects, LLC


Building History
The building known as the Automatic Lofts at 410 S. Morgan/1001 W. Van Buren, Chicago, IL is listed on the National Register for Historic Places for technological innovations that occurred within the building.  It was originally the Automatic Electric company for the development and operation of the Strowger automatic dial telephone system.  Constructed in 1901 it is a typical Chicago light industrial loft building that evolved with each addition from a timber frame to concrete, and eventually steel frame, all clad with a cohesive brick masonry facade and Chicago style windows.  In 1984 the south elevation facing an expressway was painted by famed muralist Richard Haas.  In 2008 the building was converted to dormitory housing, which included the creation of an internal curtain wall clad light court.

Preservation and Building Pathology Challenges
The owners retained Brush Architects to perform the Critical hands on facade examination of the building as well as to diagnose the water infiltration issues of the curtain wall.  We were also retained to diagnose the persistent water infiltration within the basement garage.

Design Solution
Brush Architects has extensive experience with facade examinations and repair programs that are related to the findings.  The facade was surveyed, findings were reported to the client and the city, and the building was found to be compliant.  The light court infiltration required extensive water testing, leak tracing, and selective dismantling of a component of the facade.  The design was developed, bid, and implemented with additional water tests performed to confirm that the design was a success.  Videoscopic tests were performed on the roof drains and drainage tile to determine the source of the water infiltration.