Chairman's Message: A Special Night at the Museum

Words: Larry Vacala

The best of the best showed off their masonry talents. I’m not talking about the masonry competition in Las Vegas. That will be in my next article. It was the architects and mason contractors in Chicagoland and NW Indiana. The Masonry Advisory Council held its annual Excellence in Masonry Architectural Awards program. The Awards program recognizes architectural design excellence and the talent behind the execution of making those design concepts a reality. Architectural firms, mason contractors, and product suppliers are recognized for their contribution to architectural design, construction expertise, and the use of brick, block, and stone materials in commercial and residential projects.

This year’s amazing event was held at the Museum of Science and Industry. The Museum of Science and Industry Chicago is one of the largest science museums in the world. It’s home to more than 400,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity. The museum was a fitting venue to display these works of art.  

Winners of each category were:

Mixed Use Winner & Best of Brick: Logan Crossing, Architect: Auntunovich Associates, Mason Contractor: Midwest Masonry Inc, Supplier: Brickworks Supply Center.

Best of Block: Loyola Academy, Architect: Krueck & Sexton, Mason Contractor: Midwest Masonry Inc Supplier: Brickworks Supply Center & Northfield Block.

Best of Stone: Will County Courthouse, Architect: Wight & Company, Mason Contractor: ALL Construction Group. 

Craftsmanship Winner: 1111 W. Addison, Architect: Hirsch MPG LLC, Mason Contractor: A-One Group Ltd, Supplier: Brickworks Supply Center. 

Best Overall: Green Line Performing Arts Center, Architect: Morris Architects Planner, Mason Contractor: Larmco Masonry Co. Inc., 

Multi Family Winner: One Bennett, Architect GREC Architects, Mason Contractor: Illinois Masonry Corporation. 

Healthcare/Scientific Winner: Broadway Youth Center, Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects, Mason Contractor: J&E Duff Inc., Supplier: Brickworks Supply Center.

Contemporary Rehab / Restoration Winner: Goldblatts, Architect: Bauer Lotoza Studio, Mason Contractor: IW&G Inc.

Elementary Winner: Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School Expansion, Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects, Mason Contractor: J&E Duff Inc., Supplier: Brickworks Supply Center.

Religious Winner: Holy Family Catholic Church, Architect: Larson + Darby Group, Mason Contractor: JMI 2 Corp., Supplier: Northfield Block.

Industrial / Commercial Winner: Enlace, Architect: Canopy / Architecture & Design LLC. 

High School / College Winner: DePaul University Holtschneider Performance Center, Architect: Antunovich Architects, Mason Contractor: MPZ Masonry Inc.

Governmental Winner: Arlington heights Police Station, Architect: Legat Architects, Mason Contractor: Iwanski Masonry, Supplier: Brickworks Supply Center.

Structural Masonry Winner: Southshore Beach House, Architect: HPZS, Mason Contractor: II in One Construction, Supplier: Northfield Block.

Early Childhood Educational Winner: Kiddie Academy, Architect: Baker Architects, Mason Contractor: T&K Masonry.

Miscellaneous Winner: Bulldog Park, Architect: CSO Architects, Mason Contractor: Kwiatkowski Masonry Inc.Single Family Winner: The Laurel, Architect: Cook Architectural Design Studio.

Anyone in our industry knows, all the projects submitted are winners. That’s because the architects specified superior building materials for the owner. Whether they specified to build with brick, block, or stone, you can be assured it provides a strong long-term investment. It’s a green building material, naturally energy efficient and helps to protect occupants from natural disasters. Thank you to all architects that choose to design with masonry!

Events like this would not be possible without the support from industry sponsors. Thank you sponsors!  Echelon/Northfield Block a division of Oldcastle Co., the presenting sponsor. Platinum sponsors; Brickworks, Tuckpointing Contractors Association, Mason Contractors Association of Greater Chicago, Labor Management Cooperative Committee, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers, International Masonry Institute, and Mason Contractors Association of Northwest Indiana. Your support keeps masonry strong!

Kudos to Kathy Kurzawa, Executive Director for MAC, for putting together a fantastic event. Everyday Kathy continues to do an amazing job to promote and support our industry! The Chicagoland and NW Indiana Masonry Advisory Council’s (MAC) mission statement is: “committed to serve its members through promotion, marketing, education, information, and support programs related to masonry materials and construction”.  MAC emphasizes, building with masonry continues to provide beauty in the construction of residential and commercial buildings everywhere. Real value is obtained through the long-life structural benefits, the flexibility in its design options, the savings in energy costs, fire safety, and the residual effect of economics in local communities. This is why brilliant Architects design with masonry.

Stay Safe Stay Strong!

Larry Vacala


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