Chicago Tribune – Studio V Design

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Photography: Alex Garcia
Author: Blair Kamin

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The newly rehabbed Krause Music Store at 4611 N. Lincoln Ave. glows at dusk, with old-fashioned lights drawing attention to the deeply-recessed entrance that expertly frames the buildings display window. The stores richly ornamented, green terra cotta facade is the last design of the great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, who died in 1924. Owners Peter and Pooja Vukosavich, partners in Studio V Design, a marketing communications design firm, are the patrons for a restoration of the stores facade and a dramatic reinvention of its interior. The firms offices are in the buildings first floor while an apartment is above.

Louis Sullivans ornament for the Krause Music Store bursts above the buildings roofline, as if Sullivan who once designed skyscrapers and other grandy scaled structures, but spent the latter
phase of career on small-scale buildings could not contain himself. The decoration seen here includes a letter K, for William Krause, the buildings first owner, and, below it, numbers indicating 1922, the year the store opened.

With this extraordinary artistry, Louis Sullivan interwove his nature-inspired ornament on the facade at 4611 N. Lincoln Ave. with what appears to be the letter M, presumably standing for Music in Krause Music. As part of the restoration of the facade, new storm windows were installed to protect the delicate Tudor windows and their intricate glasswork from the original building. The Tudor windows also got new metal framing that holds their glass in place.

The Evanston firm of McGuire Igleski & Associates carefully restored the exterior terra cotta of the Krause Music Store, a showcase of ornament by its original architect, Louis Sullivan. Sullivan combined leaves, seed pods and other natural forms in his intricate, perfectly proportioned compositions. They animated the inert materials of brick and steel. This view, a detail of the terra cotta surrounding one of the buildings two doors along North Lincoln Avenue, also shows how Sullivan used exposed lights to dramatic the buildings proscenium-like entry.

A conference room for the Studio V Design firm occupies the old showroom space at the Krause Music Store, 4611 N. Lincoln Ave. Blocks of terra cotta inside the window are a darker green than those outside, revealing how insensitive acid washing from the 1950’s onward bleached the stores exterior. Visible at lower right is black and white mosaic tiling that creates a distinct zone within the adjoining city sidewalk were replaced.

A view of the entry into Studio V Design firms offices (left) and the conference room (right). Chicago architects Wheeler Kearns redesigned the interior of the Krause Music Store that is at once bracingly contemporary and deeply respectful of Louis Sullivan’s original design.

A series of yellow screens, made of synthetic material, march through the Studio V Design firms offices, creating visual rhythms and a veil a privacy for people inside the office.

Pooja Vukosavich, a partner in the Studio V Design firm, walks past one of the offices on the interior of the Krause Music Store, originally designed by Louis Sullivan. The floor-to-ceiling glass helps light penetrate to the deepest zones of the interior. By coincidence, the glass came from Owatonna, Minn., the site of Sullivan’s greatest small-town bank.

A Begging Buddha statue occupies the back of the Studio V Design offices, alongside an atrium that draws light into the space. It eventually will be placed in a water feature in the buildings new Japanese garden, seen outdoors.