March 03, 2005

Firm honored for Altgeld makeover

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A jury of professional architects recently confirmed what observers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have been saying about Altgeld Hall's makeover: It's prize worthy.

Indeed, the multi-million dollar renovation and addition to the SIUC castle-like structure snared a Design Award in biennial competition of the Southern Illinois Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Honors came at Feb. 17 awards ceremony hosted by the Southern Illinois Artisan's Shop and Visitors Center near Whittington.

A total of 89 architectural firms from Illinois' southernmost counties were eligible to compete for honors in 11 categories, including historic preservation projects, residential construction, interiors, education facilities and so on.

White & Borgognoni Architects, P.C., of Carbondale - chief architects of Altgeld's comprehensive overhaul - landed the sole award in the category for buildings and renovations over $2 million. That brought to seven the total number of awards the architectural firm won in the competition, more than any of its peers.

SIUC hired White & Borgognoni's firm - known for faithful restoration of historic structures - to renovate 27,840 square feet of existing space and add another 33,315 square feet to the 1896-era Altgeld, the oldest building at SIUC.

Dedicated last fall, Altgeld now boasts a beautiful and historically sensitive restoration inside and out.

Building improvements include state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces, listening laboratories, new studios, classrooms, offices, attractive entrances and corridors, and a courtyard.