Architecture is about more than just design; at its roots, there’s a technical understanding to be had about buildings and how design comes together. For Delph Gustitus, it was a suggestion from his mentor to learn more about those technical aspects of architecture that led him into a passion that has been the framework for his entire career.
Graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988, Gustitus started work with Wiss, Janney and Elstner Associates, Inc., a company that specialized in diagnosing problems on existing buildings and fixing them. That focus developed a career-shaping interest for Gustitus in historic buildings and restoration.
“I just learned to appreciate the craftsmanship and workmanship of the older buildings and the components of them,” Gustitus said. “I’ve stuck with it ever since; I never went back to design.”
Since launching his own firm, BTL Architects, Inc., in 1995, and as a former board member of Landmarks Illinois – a leading preservation advocacy group – Gustitus has worked on restoration for many buildings all over the Chicago area, from critical inspection on the Museum of Science and Industry, to terrazzo restoration on 3900 North Lakeshore Drive, where finding matches to the original aggregates and cement matrix posed an interesting obstacle.
Oftentimes in old buildings, among the biggest challenges for a terrazzo installation are the inferior materials that have been installed over it. Architects looking to refresh the look of a building on the cheap often look to tile, which gets glued down directly on top of the finished terrazzo. The tile, in the case of restoration, invariably needs replacing, but with some deep cleaning for glue stains and a good eye for matching, the terrazzo can often be restored to its former glory.
As one of the most durable flooring materials in architecture, terrazzo is one that Gustitus comes across frequently. “I actually like terrazzo a lot for an interior flooring finish,” Gustitus said. “It’s very durable, easily cleaned, and you have a lot of flexibility for design. There’s a lot of different colors, and you can create very interesting designs. It’s a really versatile material, I like it a lot.”
Read what Gustitus had to say about the Cook County Hospital Restoration project. Click here to view the blog.