This gorgeous crystalline structure is the new home of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. Designed by Krueck + Sexton Architects, the building’s layout is focused around the use of natural light, and its contemporary design sets it apart from the surrounding 19th Century masonry buildings. A beautiful multifaceted facade symbolizes the institute’s mission and logo, which features a flame accompanied by the phrase yehi, which means “let there be light”.


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Chicago’s Spertus Institute is an 80 year old learning institute focused on Jewish Studies. Their programs teach all ages through special events, exhibitions, collections, research and degree programs. Much like SOM’s Cathedral of Light in Oakland, the Spertus Institute wanted to provide a beautiful place for worship and learning that was built in a sustainable manner.

The 10-story building includes many sustainable design elements, and is excepted to receive LEED Silver certification. Its most eye-catching feature is a beautiful multi-faceted facade consisting of 726 high-performance coated glass panes. Both the coating and internal shades help control internal glare and heat gain. The top of the institute features 5,500 sq ft of vegetated green roof, which reduces storm water and summer cooling needs, although unfortunately this intriguing design feature is inaccessible to the public.

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Through the use of daylighting, energy-efficient lighting, and demand-based ventilation the building has achieved a 29% reduction in energy consumption. Efficient water-saving devices are installed throughout the interior in addition to ventilation and humidity controls that allow for optimum indoor air quality for visitors, staff and students. The indoor air and humidity controls are also specially suited for the preservation of the Institute’s collections – an energy-efficient HVAC system is responsible for maintaining very precise levels of temperature and humidity.

Among its many wonderful design features, the structure also features a 400 seat auditorium, a museum, classrooms and offices. The Institute also partnered with Wolfgang Puck to assist with event catering and bring imaginative, kosher cuisine to the Institute’s cafe.

+ Krueck + Sexton Architects

+ Spertus Institute

Professional Photography by Bill Zbaren
Other Photos by Krueck & Sexton