Aurora Arts Center was recognized for adaptive reuse of historic monuments by Cordogan Clark & Associates
The John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center received the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation’s 2020 Monument Conservation Award for Adaptive Use in Illinois. It combines artist lofts with an arts / theater school in a historic building next to the Paramount Arts Center in central Stolp Island in Aurora. This adaptive reuse project dramatically improves the quality of life and economic opportunity in Downtown Aurora.
The development will provide quality arts education services to the community, expand access to and delivery of the performing arts, provide high quality, affordable housing specially designed for artists, and create significant employment opportunities in vibrant downtown Aurora.
Buildings that now make up the renovated Aurora Arts Center in Aurora, Illinois include the Stanley Building and the Block & Kuhl Building, built in 1925 and 1928. Both structures add to the structure of the Stolp Island Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. These buildings stood empty for over six years and were viewed as a bruise to a hopeful community challenged by decades of disinterest.
Community Builders, a national not-for-profit real estate developer, worked with the City of Aurora and the Paramount Theater to create 38 new affordable apartments for artists (Artesan Lofts), a school of the arts (Paramount School of the Arts), rehearsal rooms (Paramount Theater- Rehearsal rooms) and a restaurant (Stolp Island Social House) are located on an area of 80,000 square meters in two beautiful historic buildings. The project also houses an Amy Morton restaurant on the ground floor.
Cordogan Clark were architects and engineers for the project; MacRostie Historic Advisors the Conservation Advisor; VARA design interiors; and McShane Construction Company its contractor. The resulting development significantly improves the quality of life, economic opportunities and regional interest in Downtown Aurora.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said, “This project not only saved this building by reusing this wonderful structure with beautiful architecture, but also re-energized our downtown Aurora arts scene.”
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