77 W Washington Chicago Temple Historical Renovation Doors – Featured Project
Located across from City Hall, the iconic and historic Chicago Temple Building at 77 West Washington is home to the First United Methodist Church. When this early high rise was built back in 1924, it was the tallest building in Chicago. This highly unique skyscraper church houses an expansive, 4-story chapel on the ground floor. The rest of the building is dedicated to office space. There is also a small chapel on the top floor at the base of the steeple.
As part of the building’s recent renovation, the church needed to replace several doors for the ground floor chapel. The old ones were beautifully designed neo-gothic doors that perfectly fit the surrounding architecture of the church. But they didn’t meet modern fire code standards for commercial buildings. So, the general contractor in charge of the project reached out to Glenview Haus with the difficult job of building several new fire-rated doors that blended in with the surrounding architecture.
Glenview Haus came through with something even better: new 90-minute fire rated doors that look exactly like the old ones.
Historical Renovation Doors and Replica Doors
Glenview Haus is certified in a special technology that lets them make an endless range of custom fire rated doors. Whether it’s 20-minute, 60-minute, or 90-minute fire ratings, Glenview Haus uses this technology to create authentic fire rated historical replicas and historical renovation doors.
For replicas and historical renovation doors, the idea is to create doors that look as close as possible to the original ones while using new technologies to improve their performance. The new doors can have better insulation and energy efficiency; use new, modern hardware; or abide by strict fire codes.
The 77 W Washington project took advantage of all three improvements. Although the new doors are made to look old, they have better insulation, modern hinges, and a 90-minute fire rating. Their custom, handmade decorative hardware pieces look just like the original.
Glenview Haus owner Greg Wozniak recalls a fun story that attests to the quality of the work:
“Because this is an active church, we had to install these doors at night, so as not to disrupt the daily services and ceremonies. After we installed the first set of the doors, the general contractor called us the next morning to ask why we didn’t show up. The doors were so well replicated that he didn’t realize that the new doors were not the old ones anymore. He was so surprised to find out that we had done the job and that those were the new doors. That made me feel really good. The whole idea was to make them look old, to make them feel the way they were originally. And to me, that was mission accomplished.”
- Construction start: 1922
- Construction finish: 1923
- Designed by: Holabird & Roche
- Type: Holy Place
- Stories: 29
- Maximum Height: 568 feet / 173 meters
- Seating capacity: 1,000 people
- 1834: A log cabin ws built just north of the Chicago River for this congregation.
- 1837: The cabin was moved to the corner of Clark and Washington Streets, which is also the location of the present building.
- 1845: A brick building was erected to replace the log cabin.
- 1858: A four-story building was built to replace the earlier brick structure. The church was on the upper two floors.
- 1871: The building was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire. It was immediately rebuilt.
- 1922: Construction began on this building.
- 1924: This building was dedicated.
- 1952: The sky chapel was dedicated
- At the time of its completion, this was the tallest building in Chicago.
- This building is faced with grey and white Bedford oolitic limestone from Indiana.
- The stained glass windows were created by the Giannini & Hilgart Studios.
- The main altar in the first floor sanctuary was carved by Alois Lang in Oberammergau, Germany. It shows Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as he descends from the Mount of Olives.
- The altar in the sky chapel depicts Jesus looking over the skyline of Chicago.
- The sky chapel’s structural beams are in the shape of Saint Andrew’s crosses.
- The organ has 92 ranks with four manuals.
Did You Know?
- The sky chapel was a gift to the congregation from the Walgreen family of Walgreen’s drug stores.