CJP Architects
Kolkmeier Residence

Springfield, Illinois

In the late 1960’s, a well known Central Illinois architect and University of Illinois architecture professor, Jack Sherman Baker, FAIA, designed a house for a young engineer and his family. For this family of five, Baker created a wonderfully simple yet elegantly proportioned structure whose primary 28’-8”x40’-0” footprint spoke both to the economics of constructing a house for a young family as well as to his use of a limited palette of materials.

The site, gently sloping toward a large park, helped add to the dramatic vertical effect created by a two-story Living Room volume with its three enormous window bays defining the southern elevation. This elevation was an abstract nod to the dignified and stately houses along the street constructed in the early twentieth century.

The original owner sold the property in late summer of 2005 to CJP Architects’ clients. Our clients, a couple with two teenage daughters, made a conscious decision to move from a more “traditional” environment to one that reflects a mid-century modern ethos including purchasing new furniture more appropriate to their new habitat.

The program had three essential elements: a larger Kitchen, a new Master Bedroom, and an Office.

The floor plan of the addition is meant to stand in contrast to the tightly restrained plan of the existing house; however, it purposefully remains a backdrop to the powerful vertical wall facing the park. The plan is a layering of three dimensional forms labeled by CJP Architects and their client as “boxes.” Where the existing house has very regimented corner windows, the addition allows natural light from all directions as well as visuals to the site and beyond.

CJP Architects addressed and introduced the client to several “green architectural principles.” The addition was designed for each of its independent nine roofs to be vegetated. The completion of the Garage roof earned the clients the distinction of having the first green roof in the community bringing attention from the local print press.

Vertical redwood siding was replicated for the addition, but has been stained differently in order to stand in contrast to the existing house. A new terrazzo floor was installed in the existing Entry and Powder rooms as well as the new Kitchen, Mud Room, Closet, and two Ante rooms. CJP Architects designed the terrazzo mix including the use of recycled glass.

CJP Architects designed the cabinetry in the Kitchen and two Bathrooms. The Office, designed as an outpost off the Master Bedroom, has a built in credenza and desk and access to a green roof; its diminutive form belies its hierarchy as a part of the addition. The Office is intended to be the primary work space for one half of the couple who is an attorney and lobbyist.

The project was completed in late 2007. The client often remarks how much they enjoy “experiencing their house from their house”.

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“Working with CJP Architects was one of the best professional and personal experiences we have ever had. Not only did Mr. Pell bring creativity, energy, and experience to the project, he also made it a wonderful collaboration. He listened to our ideas and needs, and then presented us with inspiring design options. He thoroughly studied the site, meticulously researched materials, and developed comprehensive plans that achieved every one of our goals. We came to trust his judgement on every aspect of the project from the most significant design and structural issues to the most detailed finishes. He shared new, innovative and sustainable approaches to design and construction, and oversaw implementation of the entire project. We are proud to have had the chance to preserve and expand an iconic Springfield home, but it is really Chuck's talent, patience, and inspiration that made it possible.”

- Barb and Kip Kolkmeier