The new headquarters for Chicago’s The Night Ministry is a three-story adaptive reuse project that truly showcases what this building stands for: refuge and recovery. The design makes the most of an existing structure to become a welcoming center for the community.

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brick building with wall mural on one side

The Night Ministry provides housing, healthcare and help to those in the Chicago area who need it. According to the organization’s website, 86,000 people in Chicago experience homelessness every year. This organization wants to help the community, so it makes sense that the nonprofit should be housed in a building that adds to the community in itself.

Related: Community First! provides affordable, permanent micro-housing

meeting room with white brick walls and computers on wood desks

Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects designed the headquarters, which is located in the Mural Building in the Bucktown neighborhood. An old loading dock was converted into an accessible entrance, while the first floor of the building has become The Crib, an overnight shelter for young adults. This floor includes a sleeping room, administration offices, a serving kitchen, meeting rooms and a multipurpose space. The mural in the multipurpose area is actually carried through the entire building, continuing up to the next two floors.

colorful wall mural on room with tables and chairs

The overall design is meant to relieve stress. The glass doors and plentiful windows allow light to enter the space, creating a feeling of openness while also reducing reliance on artificial lighting during the daytime. Landscaping and trees create a natural screen to block the highway and create a peaceful atmosphere.

tables and chairs in room with colorful wall mural

“The Night Ministry is thrilled with its new space in Bucktown. The ability to provide guests at The Crib with modern, larger facilities has already shown several benefits, such as the guests sleeping better at night,” said Paul W. Hamann, president and CEO of The Night Ministry. “We worked with Wheeler Kearns Architects to develop adequate storage space, so that youth don’t need to worry about the security of their belongings at night. The upstairs space for administrative and program leadership functions allows us to operate more efficiently with room to grow. We couldn’t be happier.”

brick room with blue bunk beds

The Night Ministry seeks to lift the community up through not just services but also beautiful design. This is adaptive reuse at its best. The new Night Ministry headquarters sets an example for others to follow.

+ Wheeler Kearns Architects

Photography by Kendall McCaughterty and Hall + Merrick Photographers via Wheeler Kearns Architects