2021 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation AWARD FOR ADAPTIVE REUSE

A three-building school complex, built in 1894, 1900 and 1923, respectively, in Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood has been creatively reused as a 60-unit affordable senior housing complex. Both the exterior and interiors of the structures have been restored, with the more than 100-year old brick, stone and wood elements getting a second life. One-third of the units at West Pullman School Senior Community are subsidized by the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund for rents at 15 percent and 30 percent of area median income (AMI), and the remaining units are rented for 40 percent to 60 percent of AMI. Developer Scott Henry of Celadon Holdings, LLC and UrbanWorks led this adaptive reuse project at the Pullman complex that served as an anchor in the community for more than 120 years. The reuse of the structures was a direct response to the neighborhood’s desire to see these places restored and returned to usable space for decades to come.


  • Patricia Saldana Natke, UrbanWorks, Ltd.
  • Deona Thomas, President 5 T Management
  • Neli Vazquez Rowland & Devin Rowland, A Safe Haven Foundation
  • Andrew Hugger, Community Development Banking, Bank of America
  • Ernest Brown, Brown and Momen
  • Charles Anderson, C.E. Anderson & Associates
  • Scott Henry, Josie Karas & Aron Weisner, Celadon Holdings, LLC
  • Michael B. Rossi & Scott Hoekman, Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, LLC
  • Jeff Wickenkamp, Vice President Hey and Associates, Inc.
  • Rachel Firgens & Allen Johnson, MacRostie Historic Advisors LLC
  • Michael Gonzalez & Zack Garza, Maestros Ventures, LLC
  • Suzi Reinhold & Chris Enck, Revive Architecture
  • Robert Natke, Maria Pellot & Antonia Ramos-Muniz, UrbanWorks
  • Robert Espeland, US Bank


Scott Henry, Principal, Celadon Holdings, LLC

Restoring the West Pullman School’s exterior serves the collective memory of the local community by maintaining its longtime presence as a vibrant place of activity. Additionally, restoring and reusing many of the interior schoolhouse elements sparks memories for the complex’s elderly residents by reminding them of spaces similar to those they occupied in their youth. The building’s historic gymnasium and auditorium create unique opportunities that promote resident wellness and allow for significant public events that engage the community in a space that served West Pullman for decades.

It is well established that reusing an existing structure, particularly ones as solidly constructed as the West Pullman School, is the most sustainable response to new development. The embodied energy contained within these buildings remains, and landfills that might have been filled with the building’s debris remain unused. Insulation values provided by the existing solid masonry walls exceed most standard contemporary construction, and the architects have upgraded in those areas where warranted. Even the reuse of doors and casework, conceived primarily as a design strategy that honors the building’s landmark status, provides new life for old things while conserving vital resources.


Scott Henry, Principal, Celadon Holdings, LLC

The West Pullman School adaptive reuse allows more than 12 decades of local history to remain in place, while expanding the building’s mission to include the sustainable housing of seniors within the community. Most tangibly, the complex’s 60 units provide a very attractive affordable housing solution for senior citizens in the West Pullman neighborhood. The building’s new viability impacts every neighborhood resident who remembers when West Pullman School was a thriving hub of education. This historical memory underlines the importance of continuity within the community in a particularly visceral way. Buildings and memory are not disposable; they are crucial to nourishing a community’s tangible sense of itself.

The construction quality of the existing building is considerably better than most contemporary housing, with brick, stone and wood elements that have endured for more than a century. The original construction provides residents with thermal insulation values superior to most current affordable structure. By maintaining and restoring as many original features as possible, the architects have provided an enormous body of unique pieces that can stir elderly resident’s memories and help them maintain critical cognitive skills. It’s likely that some residents will be former students and these elements will bridge their senior years with their youth.

Beyond providing 75 jobs during construction, the senior housing facility employs two staff members to add permanent positions to the local job force in the West Pullman neighborhood.

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