In 2003, Jean Dufresne and business partner Jay Keller founded Space Architects + Planners in a small office on Milwaukee Avenue. The firm has since created award-winning designs for homes and restaurants. Dufresne, who grew up in Quebec, has been active for more than a decade with the American Institute of Architects. He helped establish a quarterly meeting between the Small Practitioners Group of AIA Chicago and the city of Chicago’s building commissioner to address issues architects face when working with the city. At the national level, Dufresne was a founding member of AIA’s Small Firm Roundtable, now Small Firm Exchange, which advocates for small architecture firms across the country. He helped create AIA Kinetic, a digital career guide for architects.
How he gives back: Dufresne is a 10-year volunteer for Chicago House and curates the nonprofit’s annual Birdhouse Art Auction.
Whole House Gold Award: Siegel Residence
A stuffy, outdated 1956 apartment within a landmark Mies van der Rohe designed building in Chicago was completely demolished and redesigned to accommodate a new owner. By taking the 2,100 sq. ft. unit down to its studs and chases, the clients and the designers, SPACE Architects and Planners of Chicago, saw a unique opportunity to reconnect the unit to a Miesian style and vernacular.
With a ribbon of floor-to-ceiling glazing on two sides of the apartment, the decision was made to enclose the building systems in place and use sliding doors to open private spaces to public ones. The new master bedroom now opens on the main living space for the home. Meanwhile secondary bedrooms were reconfigured to make way for a much larger kitchen with east facing views of Lake Michigan. In the end, the space was radically reconfigured and recalls the iconic Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill., and truly connects back to the master who is credited with being the first to say “less is more” . . .
Light Commercial Gold Award: Everman Lofts
This 12,700 sq. ft. rehabilitation project returned the exterior to its former glory and converted this historic church structure into 11 dwelling units. It also restored the former clergy house at the church’s rear. Unit configurations worked around the symmetry of the original building exterior and openings in an effort to not impact the envelope. Exterior renovation included repairing and restoring the decorative stained glass windows along with installing new windows to match at the ground level, previously filled with glass block. The roofing, decorative metalwork and masonry all were repaired to honor the architectural heritage of the original church structure…