The Ohio Historical Society presented Case Western Reserve University, Richard L. Bowen + Associates and Marous Brothers Construction its 2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award of Merit for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of the 1911 Chamberlain House, at 11310 Juniper Rd. in Cleveland. It is now the Case Western Reserve University Alumni House.
The award was presented November 1 by Ohio Historical Society Executive Director William Laidlaw, a Case Western Reserve graduate and former interim dean of the university's Weatherhead School of Management. The award was received during ceremonies on November 1 in Columbus.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Alumni House was John A. Massie (CIT '66), Alumni House project consultant for the university's alumni relations office. In accepting the award, Massie noted that in addition to preserving the historic character of the house itself, the Alumni House project has provided a suitable home for many historic artifacts and memorabilia celebrating the nearly 200 year history of the university.
He further said the opening of the Alumni House as the on-campus home of the more than 100,000 living alumni has served to re-energize the alumni community and enable them to reconnect with each other as well as their alma mater.
"Since our opening a little more than a year ago, we have had 200 events of all types," says Dan Clancy, executive director of alumni relations at Case Western Reserve. "The university alumni love it."
Clancy says that fund raising is underway to expand the house into a larger Alumni Center, which will include construction of an attached banquet and conference facility, on an adjacent parcel.
"The Alumni House, along with other changes occurring on campus, have come to fruition through the efforts, affection and commitment of many of our alumni who have loved this university and this place, despite its once rough edges, "said Margaret Carney, university architect and planner.
"The Alumni House was built as an enduring sign of appreciation for our alumni, and as a sign to current and future students of the important role each of them plays in making this university great. It is not just a beautiful building, but it is a special place where people can come together and know they belong here, that they helped weave the fabric of the university's history, and that this will always be their campus and their community."
Richard L. Bowen, president of the 100-employee Richard L. Bowen + Associates, one of Ohio's leading architecture, planning, engineering and construction management firms, agreed.
"As an alumnus of Case Western Reserve's former department of architecture, I am honored twice by this award," Bowen said. He recalls spending many hours in the Alumni House when it was the architecture department's studios.
The university chose Bowen in early 2007 to oversee the $2.5 million rehabilitation phase of the university's first Alumni House.
Built by the Chamberlain family, the three-story brick home was purchased by the university in 1953 and was used in various ways over the years, most notably as the home of the department of music and later as the design studio for architecture until the program's dissolution in 1972.
Located on Juniper Road, the house is adjacent to Arabica Coffeehouse and the nearby Glidden House bed and breakfast in the heart of the campus.
Determined to honor the home's historic traditions, Bowen + Associates and Marous Brothers Construction took considerable effort to refurbish the priceless architectural details. Interior work included adding new plumbing and electric wiring, restoring woodwork, uncovering hidden architectural details and refinishing the first-floor wood flooring.
Other significant infrastructure work included the addition of a four-story elevator and the rehabilitation of the first-floor lobby, parlor, library, living room and kitchen. The second floor features a business center for alumni, and both the second and third floors hold alumni relations offices.
Bowen also added new landscaping. The redesign also called for dismantling the slate roof and cleaning and replacing the many pieces as well as all installation of new copper gutters and downspouts. New porches were added at the front entrance along with a special needs ramp, as well as a rear porch and patio. Windows were installed that are true to the structure's historical architecture.
Alumni House furnishings include vintage Case Western Reserve memorabilia and select furniture pieces from across the university. New furnishings elsewhere in the house were chosen to reflect the historical era of the original family home.
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