Midway Studios

midway-studios-300University of Chicago Midway Studios

6016 South Ingleside Avenue

Chicago, IL 60637

Built: 1906

Original Achitect: Loredo Taft

Restoration Architect: Mary Brush, Holabird & Root


Building History
Midway Studios, located at 6160 South Ingleside Ave, Chicago, Illinois.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a local landmark.  It was the home and studio of Lorado Taft, the preeminent sculptor and teacher, and one of the first American sculptural graduates of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. The building extends from a 1880’s era Victorian residence toward Taft’s original art studio that he relocated to the site, and numerous loft studio art studio sheds.

Preservation and Building Pathology Challenges
Holabird & Root was retained to restore the building envelope.  As the Preservation group leader, Mary Brush led the team to investigate the original conditions and design the complex details to improve drainage and thermal efficiency of the historic structure.  The building was designed in part as Taft received new sculptural commissions.  The Great Hall connecting the home to the original studio has four perpendicular wings, each with steeply pitched roofs and custom monumental skylights.  The skylights had long ago been covered with obscure corrugated plastic and the building reportedly leaked extensively.

Design Solution
Ms. Brush designed the 37 custom skylights and retained their original size and location with the exception of one which was raised only enough to allow adequate flashing where the descending slope of one roof integrated into a late addition masonry wall with a large window opening. So many of the existing conditions defied construction logic and added complexity to the ‘lovable but ramshackle mess’ of a building.  The Victorian house received extensive masonry restoration, a new slate roof, and a new wooden porch compliant with current code. The building is now houses the  coveted art faculty studio spaces and the offices of complimentary creative writing and literature departments.