Friday, May 20, 2011

Harris Hall receives preservation award


Dan Weese (Weese Langley Weese), Don McDougal (Turner Construction Company) and I attended the May 16, 2011 session of the City Council at which the City of Evanston Preservation Commission presented Northwestern University with its highest building preservation honor, the Margery B. Perkins Award for Historic Preservation. Sweet.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 2010


Harris Hall awaits the return of students and the start of classes on January 3, 2011. My step daughter, Julia Smith (2011), a history-econ major, will be among those enjoying the newly renovated building, so it was particularly sweet to have been assigned to this project.  There are still several hundred loose ends to trim and finalize, but over all, the project is complete and the building occupied.  The project, being a mix of new construction, historic restoration, rehab, and designed for LEED certification, was demanding, interesting, compelling and downright thrilling.  I thoroughly enjoyed working with the faculty and administrative staff in both the Department of History and the Nicholas J. Chabraja Center for History Studies.  It was a particular pleasure working with Weese Langley Weese, and especially Dan Weese, whose passionate and relentless attention to the project permeates the building.  I wholly appreciate the commitment and efforts of Turner’s construction team (Mike Long, Don McDougal, Ron McAllister and Anthony Douglas) and the many trade contractors that worked on the project.  Of course, the project success was underpinned by a host of consultants, contractors, vendors, Facilities Management staff, and other University Departments, such as Academic Technologies, NUIT, Block Museum, NU Police.  Thank you to everyone for your help.  Harris Hall should be good for yet another century.   -John Brzezinski


View from the southeast.


Architect Dan Weese rests, with Mr. Norman Waits Harris looking over his shoulder.  What would Mr. Harris think of all this?  I should think he would be pleased.

November 2010


Above, Vasco, the painter, is the victim of an terrible accident.  The good news was that he was wearing his hardhat, which saved his life.  A section of cast iron baluster fell three stories and landed on this head.  It shattered on impact, but his hardhat only suffered a scratch.  Unfortunately, a piece of the baluster was deflected to his neck/shoulder, which resulted in a deep cut.  Miraculously, Vasco recovered within days and was back at work in less than two weeks. 


Stunned workers stare in disbelief at the shattered pieces of cast iron.


Close-up of the shattered cast iron baluster.


Faux painting in progress the 1st floor corridor ceiling.


Faux painting in progress at the stage in Accenture Forum (Room 107).  In this photo you can see the yellow underpainting with a layer of glaze covering it various places.


Faux painting finished.


The “palace rug” returned to Harris 108 after being cleaned.

October 2010

The floor in Room 108:  Replacing select pieces of the floor.

Room 108 floor pattern

Floor pattern of the oak floor in Room 108.

Chair installation in progress in Room 107.


Dan Weese and Anthony Douglas discover their common interest in fashion.


The decorative molding installed at the new ceiling of Room 108.  The ceiling appears to be a standard plaster, but in fact is a high tech material, imported from Switzerland, with acoustical properties.


Lower level.


First floor.  The balusters and railings incomplete.  Hmm.

September 2010

Fresh concrete at the north entrance.

Bluestone paver installation in progress at the new south terrace.

Room 107, above, is nearly ready for carpet installation.

Carpet partially installed in Room 107.  Dan Weese and Don McDougal contemplate . . . something.

Trying to figure out the mistake in the subcontractor’s calculations for the rise and run at the north stair.  From left, Anthony Douglas, Don McDougal, Dan Weese, Ron McAllister.


Installing the concrete sidewalk east of Harris Hall.


Installation of stone at north entrance stair.


Yellow underpainting at the first floor ceiling, in preparation of multiple glazes of pigment.  The resulting faux painting finish will result in an appearance that is convincing.


Stone cleaning in progress.


Hmm. Blackboard covers window.  How did that happen?

August 2010


Room 107 – painting stripping and ceiling work in progress.


Marble floor installation in progress at the lower level.


Room 107 – all the wood is stripped of numerous coats of paint.


Stair no. 2



A marble stair tread awaiting installation.


Faculty Lounge – secret floor leveling code.



Fretting over the carpet border layout.


Mechanical room.






Installing waterproofing system on the plaza and stairs.

Underlayment at the new, larger stage in Room 107.

Stone for the exterior stairs and plaza.

July 2010

Work stopped during a 20 strike.

Meeting to discuss keying.  From left, Dan Weese, Paula Blaskovitz, Phil Sanders, Tony Hicks.

Door delivery.  Curious forklift moves without turning.  i.e. it will move sideways without turning at all!