From Firehouse to Film House
Construction is underway at the 1928 two-story firehouse at 5720 N. Ridge in Chicago, called “the most ornate of the grand firehouses” by the Chicago Landmarks Commission. The brick-and-terra-cotta building will soon be reborn as the new home of Chicago Filmmakers. The independent film group plans to show offbeat movies on the main floor where fire trucks were once parked, and hold film-making classes upstairs where firefighters used to sleep.
Preservation is the name of the game: when the renovation is done, the facade will echo the original look of the building, and inside, brick walls, terrazzo floors, wood trim, and other building materials will be either left in place or salvaged and reused wherever practical. At the same time, modern touches to conserve energy and water – LED lights, occupancy sensors, and low-flow toilets – will be added, as well as a new coat of low-VOC paint. An elevator will also bring the building up to date.