June 5, 2019
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) is a global firm of engineers, architects and materials scientists committed to helping its clients solve, repair and avoid problems in the built world. WJE generously supports Landmarks Illinois at the Visionary Corporate Sponsor level. We interviewed LI Board Member Joshua Freedland, a WJE principal, about why his firm supports our work.
LANDMARKS ILLINOIS: WJE was among the first to join our Annual Corporate Sponsor Program. Why did this new program appeal to you?
Landmarks Illinois and WJE share similar values. We believe in the importance of historic preservation and the work of Landmarks Illinois. Our corporate sponsorship reflects our affirmation of LI’s efforts to preserve our heritage structures for future generations. With our headquarters located in Northbrook and a large office in Chicago, we are proud to support LI’s mission to preserve, protect and promote architectural and historic resources in Illinois through advocacy and education.
LI: WJE’s commitment to maintaining the built environment naturally aligns with LI’s historic preservation mission. What makes historic preservation relevant today?
The built heritage of our state connects contemporary generations to the past. Historic preservation is about finding solutions that connect the community to that heritage. WJE works alongside LI to help ensure that today’s preservation work maintains that connection far into the future.
LI: 2019 marks the 25th Anniversary of Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois program. Looking back at past Most Endangered properties for which WJE has provided assistance, is there one property you found particularly challenging, gratifying or inspiring?
Just this past year, WJE has been involved in the preservation of three large, historic sites that have been on the endangered list for a long time: the Chicago Post Office, Cook County Hospital and Uptown Theater. In my personal experience, our involvement in the Farnsworth House for the past 14 years has been a career highlight. Last year, I also enjoyed conducting an assessment of the Nite Spot Café along Route 66. The significance of the property to the Galas family, who owns the café, the local community and its place in the broader national significance made it satisfying on many levels.
LI: What do you enjoy most about serving as a Landmarks Illinois Board Member?
In my role on LI’s Preservation Issues Committee, I enjoy working with a wide range of talented and dedicated people devoted to developing project specific strategies to save important buildings in different contexts throughout the state.
(Photo: LI Board Member Joshua Freedland (on ladder) and Skyline Council Vice Chair Sarah Van Domelen of WJE conduct a condition assessment of the Amasa White House in Geneva, in October 2018, included on LI’s 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.)