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HomeModern House PlanA Helmut Jahn–designed navy archive takes form in Wisconsin

A Helmut Jahn–designed navy archive takes form in Wisconsin


Nearly a 12 months after the premature demise of Helmut Jahn, one of many architect’s remaining designs is coming to fruition. Jahn’s prolific legacy in Chicago and the encircling space contains the Thompson Middle, Terminal 1 at O’Hare Worldwide Airport, and the Mansueto Library at College of Chicago. Constructing on his penchant for participating the general public by wildly expressive designs, the Pritzker Army Archives Middle in Somers, Wisconsin, is a jaunty 48,000-square-foot civic house for archiving and exhibiting navy paraphernalia.

The venture, positioned on an nearly 300-acre web site, is slated to open later this 12 months as a part of the bigger, multiphase Pritzker Archives & Memorial Park Middle (PAMPC) venture in Somers. Along with the forthcoming Pritzker Army Archives Middle, one other main component of PAMPC is the Chilly Warfare Veterans Memorial, a venture anticipated to start development in 2024. 

Chicago’s Pritzker Army Museum & Library, the nonprofit establishment behind PAMPC, determined it wanted a brand new archival middle after receiving an inflow of donated navy artifacts together with books, uniforms, posters, and memorabilia. JAHN, Helmut Jahn’s agency, had one other concept. The agency proposed including an exhibit house to this system that might be accessed by the general public. Additionally included in this system is a central utility core, a processing and sorting facility for organizing donations, and a 15,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled basement archive. Outdoors, the brand new constructing can be flanked by 17 acres of group inexperienced house realized in partnership with panorama structure agency O2 Design.

rendering of an exhibition building with red trusses
The Pritzker Army Archives Middle can be flanked by 17 acres of public inexperienced house on the 288-acre PAMPC campus. (Courtesy JAHN)

In designing the constructing, JAHN drew on the aesthetics of navy {hardware}. “When Helmut and I talked about it he mentioned, ‘This constructing must be powerful. It must be like a bit of navy gear,’” defined JAHN managing director Phil Castillo. The general kind is impressed by an amphibious assault automobile’s aggressive stance. Burly trusses bolt to the muse and, at one finish, taper into an 80-foot cantilever that covers a plaza fronting the principle public entrance. The trusses are painted pink, the colour of braveness, and their assemblage, the literal nuts and bolts, are left uncovered. The 42-foot-tall exhibition house is enclosed in a glass curtain partitions.

JAHN’s give attention to the technical elements of the design just isn’t solely expressive. As with navy gear, the constructing additionally needed to carry out effectively. The curtain wall glass includes a ceramic frit in a grid sample that mitigates the inflow of daylight, lowering warmth loading in addition to glare so guests stay comfy and the artifacts keep protected and viewable. The archival basement is served by a strong HVAC system that maintains rigorous temperature and humidity thresholds to maintain the artifacts preserved. This emphasis on efficiency with out sacrificing aesthetic just isn’t new to JAHN: the Mansueto Library on College of Chicago’s campus additionally homes delicate paperwork below a glass dome.

construction photo a swooping building with red trusses
(Courtesy JAHN)

Earlier than his demise, Helmut Jahn specialised in designing extremely distinctive postmodern structure within the Midwest and overseas. If the Pritzker Army Archives Middle is any indication, JAHN will proceed this legacy of synthesizing the technical and the cultural even because the apply begins a brand new chapter with out its namesake.



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