Meet Skyline Council Member Lauren Garvey

Lauren Garvey is a Project Manager at Klein & Hoffman, an architecture and structural engineering firm in Chicago. Four years ago, Garvey joined Landmarks Illinois’ Skyline Council to meet other young professionals in the industry with shared interests. Learn more about Lauren, her work in preservation and why she thinks you should come to the Skyline Council’s Aug. 10 Summer Mixer in our interview below.

When were you first interested in preservation?

I was first interested in preservation as a young girl, visiting National Parks with my parents and touring historic sites all over the country. Later, when I eventually realized that becoming a park ranger was not my ideal career path for me, I combined my science, math and art skills to earn a degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During graduate school at the University of Oregon, I was able to combine my interests in preservation, technology, sustainability and chemistry to graduate and land a career in the more engineering-based firm I now work at, Klein & Hoffman.

What was a significant project for you that involved reuse/renovation?

The National Building, formerly known as the Commonwealth Edison Building, has been a significant project for me for the past several years. We started working on this building in the early stages of due diligence, after Chicago Public Schools headquarters announced it was leaving the premises and selling the building. I personally performed archival research, with the help of archivists at both the Chicago History Museum and the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago. Later, when Blue Star Properties invested in the property, we were fortunate to be brought on as the architecture team for the façade rehabilitation project.

When the owners elected to list the building as a Chicago Landmark and seek historic preservation tax incentives, the scope of the façade project changed pretty dramatically. The scope now includes the installation of more than 1,000 units of glass fiber reinforced concrete units that replicate the original terra cotta designs, including the missing lion’s heads on the 16th floor, the restoration of decorative cast iron window surrounds, repairs to salvage original terra cotta units and several other work items. I have been managing the progress on the rehabilitation project ever since and will continue to see it all the way through to completion.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy planning and taking trips, visiting family, meeting up with my friends for some local food or drinks, playing sports like beach volleyball and 16-inch softball, riding my bike, working on art projects, kayaking, cooking and volunteering when I can. Beside volunteering with Landmarks Illinois Skyline Council, I also assist in teaching woodworking classes at the Rebuilding Exchange. Occasionally, I volunteer with Paws Chicago as well to help the dogs find good homes and receive some puppy love (the best form of gratitude!) in return.

What is the best part about living and working in Chicago?

The history and culture – spoken like a true historic preservation nerd! I could elaborate forever on this, but I think most Chicagoans know what I mean. Feel free to approach me at a Skyline Council event and ask if you want to know more.

Why should people attend the Skyline Summer Mixer on August 10?

Come to network with emerging professionals (especially our sponsor groups!), take a break to tour the 5th floor construction zone with me and learn more about the façade restoration process, stay to enjoy free beer and wine and small bites catered from Revival Food Hall in The National’s newly remodeled 6th floor tenant lounge and courtyard, typically closed to the public, and leave knowing you donated to a great group of people saving places.

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