It’s the time of year when we reflect on the past and charge ahead into the future. With that in mind, we’ve chosen to feature the historic Joliet Central High School’s new student center. While the school’s central campus was added to the National Register of Historic places in August 1982, its student center features inspired terrazzo designs that pay homage to the original gothic architecture.
The student center is a 43,000-square-foot addition to the school’s main building and adds a new main entrance to the school. Given that marble and terrazzo were used in the original building and the later additions, using terrazzo in the student center not only offers durability and a wider color selection, it also fit in with the school’s overall design elements, said Justin Illg, the Wight & Co. architect who oversaw the project.
Notice the floor’s cross designs? They mirror columns stretching across the ceiling. The shades of gray are similar to those in the existing original building. The matrix also reflects the original building’s floors, offering a smooth transition between the old and new spaces.
“We thought carrying terrazzo into the new space would help with continuity,” Illg added. “We tried to stay true to the collegiate gothic architecture and in some ways modernize it. Terrazzo is one of the few materials where you can have the durability but also the freedom of expression.”
This project is a recipient of a 2017 NTMA Honor Award and has been recognized as Engineering News Record’s Best K-12 Education Project in the Midwest for 2016. Details of the project and the award were published in the November ENR Midwest edition.
PROJECT NAME: Joliet Central High School
OWNER/CLIENT: Joliet Township High School District 204 (Joliet, IL)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Menconi Terrazzo (Bensenville, IL)
ARCHITECT: Wight and Company (Chicago, IL)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Gilbane (Chicago, IL)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo and Marble Supply Co (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American (Staley, NC)
PRECAST TREADS: Wausau Tile (Rothschild, WI)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Mike Fetro, Terrazzo and Marble supply