History and Preservation home. Preservation in Depth. HVD Shaw in Hyde Park/Kenwood. University and Community
QC: The story of the Quadrangle Club, its architectural heritage, and its Preservation Ball and Revels
A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Preservation and Development task force, and the HPKCC website, www.hydepark.org. Help support our program: Join the Conference!
Don't miss the once-a-month Jazz Fridays in the bar, 6-9 pm. Call the QC for information
Watch for Revels in late January. Friday and Saturday, 8 pm. (Friday's preceded by a dinner, pay sep.) Quadrangle Club fundraising Faculty Revels. Call 773 702-2550.
In 2012, the Q Club, acquired by the University of Chicago, continued to undergo substantial restorations and renovations.
The venerable faculty and community club at the University of Chicago (Howard Van Doren Shaw, 1921) stands at 1155 E. 57th Street, the corner with University Avenue. Controlled by a board in conjunction with University of Chicago. Managed by Compass Group Flick International. Head manager Ryan Kingston.
The following is from the University of Chicago Chronicle, March 18, 2004. The article is by Peter Schuler, News Office.
It is likely more than a few great ideas coming out of the University were conceived over the past 100 years by faculty members lunching at the Quadrangle Club.
Ever since the University's first president William Rainey Harper and other faculty members decided in 1894--two years after the University's founding--that "the University must have a club," as one early member put it, the rich histories of the Quadrangle Club and the University have been intertwined.
The Quadrangle Club's Fourth Annual Preservation Ball on Saturday, May 1, celebrates the club's continuing ties to the University and Hyde Park and supports a $5 million restoration of the landmark clubhouse at the corner of 57th Street and University Avenue. Built in 1922 and designed by noted Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, the Quadrangle Club--and the land on which it sits--is owned by the University. The Club's lease expires in 2016.
The Preservation Ball was launched in 2001, and the event sells out each year. Quadrangle Club member Ted Cohen, Professor in Philosophy and the College, his wife Andy Austin Cohen and other club members created the annual fund-raiser, which welcomes more than 200 guests for an evening of dining and dancing. A noted Chicago musical group, the Bradley Young Orchestra will entertain guests at this event, which runs from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Cohen called the club "a priceless building" that "serves the University in many ways, besides being the locus for a number of community activities." While the Quadrangle club bylaws mandate that a percentage of members and officers be University faculty or staff, Cohen pointed out that membership is not restricted to University faculty and staff and that "it is extremely important to us that it become even more of a community institution."
Leon Despres (Ph. B., '27, J.D., '29) and his wife Marian Alschuler Despres (Ph. B., '30, Ph.D., '36) are honorary chairs of the Preservation Ball. Leon Despres is a Hyde Park attorney and a legendary independent alderman, who represented the neighborhood in the City Council from 1955 to 1975 when Richard J. Daley was Mayor.
He led the establishment of the Chicago Commission on Architectural Landmarks and the passage of its first fair housing ordinance. He also was a founder of the Hyde Park Historical Society, among countless other civic contributions. His wife, Marian, has been a life-long advocate for architectural preservation.
"Our board and many of the club's leading supporters share a vision that the Quadrangle Club is perhaps one of the best investments we can make toward the vitality of Hyde Park," said Todd Schwebel, (X., '86), a board member who is the head of a nationally recognized architecture and design firm in Chicago and one of the leaders of the Quadrangle Club restoration project, along with club president Michael Rosen.
"This effort is much more than bricks and mortar," Schwebel said. "We want to reinvigorate the club as a wonderful venue where people of all ages can gather for civic and social events, relax, share ideas and make new friends. And we all have been gratified to see the relationship between the University and the club growing stronger, inspired by numerous leadership gifts from University trustees, senior staff and faculty, and community leaders who support the club and who understand its great potential as a positive force in our community."
Schwebel said the clubhouse building is "a superb example of Shaw's design at its best. And what is particularly exciting is that it is almost entirely intact, down to the interior masonry and architectural details. It's an extraordinarily important preservation of his work.
"Shaw modeled the building," Schwebel explained, "after an English country house, with large, airy spaces for dining, play, sitting and sleeping, and with the focus on its southern exposure." Shaw intended the entire building to be flooded with as much light as possible so the open space created by its tennis courts was an integral part of his design. Schwebel noted that even the dormered sleeping rooms on the third floor receive abundant daytime light. The exterior red brick, the slate roof and other features were chosen to create a subtle, pleasing transition between the neo-Gothic quadrangle across the street and its residential neighbors.
The Quadrangle Club jointly sponsors the Preservation Ball with the Howard Van Doren Shaw Society, of which Schwebel is president, a group that honors the memory of this Chicago architect. Shaw, who was born and raised in Hyde Park, was one of the pre-eminent country house architects at the turn of the 19th century. He built 21 large homes in the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods and almost as many in Lake Forest, Ill., a favorite summer retreat for the wealthiest Chicagoans, many of whom lived on the mid-South Side.
Shaw also designed notable Chicago buildings, including the Lakeside Press Building, the Fourth Presbyterian Church and the Goodman Memorial Theatre, as well as Market Square in Lake Forest.
Shaw had been chosen to restore an earlier clubhouse after it was damaged by fire. That building, which was located where the Oriental Institute now stands, was moved two blocks west and became Ingleside Hall, which still stands. "That was only one reason to build the new clubhouse," Schwebel said. "In 1922, he was at the height of his career, and he was well known to the leading figures of the city at the time, many of whom were his friends."
The restoration of the Quadrangle Club has included extensive work to ensure its structural integrity, and repair and restoration of the slate roof and its distinctive copper ornamentation. In addition, the club's bar has been restored to what Shaw originally intended and has become very popular, particularly on Friday evenings when jazz is played.
The 21 sleeping rooms and suites are being methodically refurbished in period style, which began with one of the largest suites, now named the "Howard Van Doren Shaw Suite." The tax-deductible contributions for this year's ball will underwrite the renovation of the "William Rainey Harper Suite."
"It's an incredible building--inviting and beautiful," said Ruth O'Brien (A.B., '83), who is on the staff of the Physical Sciences Division and is the ball's co-chair. "What we're doing now is bringing the club back to the treasure that Shaw created, which makes it just that much easier for the club to be an even stronger link between the University and our neighborhood."
Club at (773) 702-2550 for further information.
Hyde Park Herald, February 2, 2005. By Len Albright, Contributor
Every afternoon, as it has for over 80 years, the dining room of the Quadrangle Club fills with the latest news and stories of Hyde Park, the University of Chicago, and the world abroad. It is during lunch, often including plum pie and coffee, where the club members debate and discuss the salient issues of the day, as well as catch up with friends and reminisce about times past. Two upcoming events will spotlight this union of foresight and reflection, as well as the interweaving of the University with the larger Hyde Park Community. the Hyde Park Historical Society's annual meeting will be held at the club on Saturday, Feb. 5th and the Quadrangle Club Preservation Ball will take place on April 3o.
The fifth annual preservation ball is a fundraising gala for the restoration of the Quadrangle Club's home on the corner of 57th Street and University Avenue. Howard Van Doren Shaw, a prolific architect whose work contributed to Chicago's distinguished reputation in early twentieth century architecture, designed the building, which opened its doors in December of 1921. Shaw is perhaps best known for his residential design, including twenty-one homes in the Hyde Park and Kenwood areas, and a number of vacation homes in Lake Forest, a summer retreat for many of Hyde Park's early residents. Shaw, however, did not limit himself to residential design alone. His corpus of work includes McClintock Court of the Art Institute of Chicago, the original Goodman Theatre, and Market Square in Lake Forest, the nation's first outdoor shopping center. The University of Chicago Alumni House, which Shaw designed for the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 1922, stand on the corner of 56th Street and Woodlawn Avenue.
Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Shaw returned to the Midwest after attending Yale and M.I.T and traveling abroad. Many critics cite his time in Europe as the foundation of his unique take on the Beaux Arts and Arts and Crafts movements that dominated residential design at the urn of the century. A1926 Architectural Record article describes Shaw's aesthetic choice and design elements as "the most rebellious of the conservatives and the most conservative of the rebels."
As the ideas of the Garden City and City Beautiful movements across the Atlantic to the United States in the early twentieth century, Shaw was commissioned to design a workers' village of one hundred and ninety acres in northwest Indiana. Construction was halted by the first World War, but not before four of the planned 32 sections of the community were built, which now stand as the Marktown Historic District. Shaw's eclectic visions may in part be attributed to his client base, which consisted largely of Gilded Age industrialists nd Chicago's rising mercantile and social elite.
The plan for the Quadrangle Club is that of an English country house, with generous southern exposure offering views of a garden and tennis courts. Designer Todd Schwebel, who works nationally on historic houses, is a director of the club and the president of the Howard Van Doren Shaw Society. He said, "the design invites natural light into the interior, creating a sense of warmth and intimacy on the building's protected rear side. " Its front faces the University Church of the Disciples of Christ, which was designed by Shaw in 1923. The club's architectural style acts as an aesthetic bridge between the campus and surrounding community. The design blends Gothic Tudor highlights in Indiana limestone, the construction material of the University's Collegiate Gothic buildings, with the red brick characteristic of many of Hyde Park' homes. Given the nature of the Quadrangle Club's charter which extends membership not only to University of Chicago faculty but also local residents, Shaw's aesthetic vision for the club matches its unifying social role.
Organized in 1893, the club coalesced amidst the founding of the University and the growth of Hyde Park after the World's Columbian Exposition. Intended as an institution to encourage collegiality among new faculty, the group also served as a social club for the burgeoning community population. In 1897, eighty of the 165 members were not University of Chicago faulty. Presently, university faculty comprises approximately 65 percent of club membership.
Before Shaw designed the building on 57th Street and University Avenue, the club was located on 58th street and University, the current site of the Oriental Institute. The club building burned down on Christmas morning of 1897, but was rebuilt six months later under Shaw's direction. As the university continue to grow in the early twentieth century, John D. Rockefeller offered money to the school for the construction of a chapel, the location and size of which necessitated the land upon which the Quadrangle Club resided. In exchange for the land, the University offered the club its current site, funded the development and construction of Shaw's design, and offered the club a 99-year lease on the land and building at the rate of one dollar per year.
With the lease set to expire in 16 years, the fate of the Quadrangle Club is uncertain. What is not uncertain, however, is the recent focus of a variety of organizations on the significance of the Quadrangle Club's building as an architectural landmark. Groups such as the Hyde Park Historical Society, the Howard Van Doren Shaw Society, and the Quadrangle Club's Board of Directors have planned or supported a number of fundraising events for restoration of the building. Jack Spicer, a member of the Hyde Park Historical Society, said "the integrity of the building makes it an architectural gem of Hyde Park and an untarnished example of Shaw's finest works."
Amid popular monthly Jazz concerts, author and academic presentations, and games of pool in the billiards room, the club is looking to the future with a firm commitment to the building's past. Renovation has been completed on some of its public rooms and is underway in a number of the 17 guest suites. Funds raised by the 2003 and 2004 preservation balls were used for t he dedication of the Howard Van Doren Shaw Suite and the William Rainey Harper Suite, in honor of the University's first president and his support for the founding of the club, and a recent gift by the Bakwin family will underwrite the Swift Suite. All restoration work is being conducted under the United States Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.
Given the Quadrangle Club's function of bringing together the University of Chicago and the Hyde Park Community, the relevance of Shaw's aesthetic vision remains poignant. By embracing rather than rebuilding the past, the lunchtime discussions at the Quadrangle Club carry the air of a proud history. Slices of plum pie in an elegantly designed and sun filled dining room, no doubt, sweeten the club's optimism for the future. ... Top
Wayne T. Johnson filled in detail on what happened to the 2nd Quadrangle Club building and its site at 58th and University.
Hyde Park Herald, February 16, 2005
What a timely and illuminating article Len Albright offered his readers with his discussion of the University of Chicago's Quadrangle club in the Herald's Feb. 2 edition. Let me offer a sidebar to his work and address the question of what became of the "old" Quadrangle Club building at 58th Street and University Avenue after the Club vacated it in 1921.
In his "A brief History: The University of Chicago/Graduate School of Business," Harry Dreiser outlines the answer: In 1923, the College of Commerce and Politics, as the GSB was then known, was given the building at 58th and University for its sole use. This award capped the 15-year tenure of the legendary Leon Carroll Marshall as dean of the College of Commerce and Politics.
Since 1898, the business school had shared Cobb Hall with other units of the University. Now it landed within a half block of its current site at 58th an woodlawn. Its newly adopted home was renamed Commerce and Administration Hall, and there it remained until the school moved to Haskell Hall in 1932.
But as Mr. Albright has noted, the plans for the construction of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel called for clearing the ground at the corner of 58th and University. At this remove, such a need is not apparent, and what stands there now is the Oriental Institute. But one who has seen the original Rockefeller master plan reports that the project as envisioned included not only a chapel but a new president's house and, if I recall correctly, a cloister or a chapter house.
Such an extensive project would understandably occupy most of the block flanked by Woodlawn, University, 58th and 59th. Happily, this did not deprive the college of Commerce and Politics of its home, but only its address.
In 1929, after the completion of the Rockefeller Chapel (in 1925) and the same year that the existing president's house was renovated, (see Dreams in Stone) ground was cleared for the 1931 Oriental Institute by moving Commerce and Administration Hall across the main quadrangle to a new site at 956 E. 58th St., adjoining the current bookstore.
The job was accomplished with rollers, and surviving photographs indicate that, to facilitate the task, the building was cut in two. From its spot on the south curb, it must have been wrestled out onto 58th Street alignment and trundled westward. It would be fun to believe that elephants provided the motive power, but internal combustion is more likely. Once across Ellis, it was nudged over the north curb to its present address on 58th Street.
Archival photographs disclose and intriguing detail about this transfer: the movers did not rotate the building. So on its new site, its former back door became its front door. The made some modifications to the exterior of the building, but its original west wall still faced west.
In 1932, what was renamed that year to be the School of Business, moved into Haskell Hall, which had become available when the Oriental Institute moved from there into its new building at 58th and University. It was a kind of deferred swap. At some point, 956 E. 58th st. was renamed Ingleside Hall, and whatever its use then, now, almost 110 years old, it helps to enclose the south edge of a new science quadrangle and shelters the campus post office and offices of University Human Resources Management.
In 1959, the business school began edging eastward again, finally relinquishing Haskell Hall to the Anthropology Department in 1980. But that is another story.
Chicago Maroon, November 6, 2007. By Ella Christoph
The Quadrangle Club, the private University faculty club on the corner of East 57th Street and South University Avenue, will soon undergo a recently approve multi-million dollar renovation to repair the 85-year-old building's many functional problems.
The plans for renovation are still in the early stages but will primarily address basic issues such as insulation, electricity, plumbing, and roof repairs. The goal, incoming chairman Raphael Lee said, is to "make the building more functional." the club, designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, will still cost $10 to $20 million to repair over the next two to five years, with the intention of maintaining the original architecture.
Although the Quadrangle Club maintains its status as an independent non-profit organization, the University has recently taken increasing responsibility in helping to restore the building. A University committee is overseeing the grant and will make decisions about the renovation's schedule and budget with the club.
According to Lee, "The founders of the club had the vision almost 100 years ago to create this kind of institution," which helps connect faculty members and researchers with the business community. In addition to the more structural renovations, the club also plans to restore its sleeping rooms, which have outdated interiors. As some of the rooms in the stone-and -brick, English manor house-style have not been redecorated since the 1970s, replacing the dated furnishings is a priority.
Lee also hopes to publicize some of the Quadrangle Club's many prominent patrons, some of whom lived at the club for extended periods of time. "One of the things that makes the Quadrangle Club so unique," Lee said, "is that it has played host to some of the most important ideas in human history." Albert Michelson, the United States' first Nobel laureate in science, stayed at the club; so did Leo Szilard, who worked with Enrico Fermi on he Manhattan Project. Other esteemed faculty members, including Nobel Prize winners Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, an astrophysicist, and economist Milton Friedman, visited the club regularly while teaching at the University.
Lee hopes the renovation will increase publicity about the historical significance of the building. "It's my personal goal to change the interior of the club so the people of the club and their contributions are recognized," Lee said. Some of its residents lived at the Quadrangle Club for as long as a few years. While the University and the individuals are clearly renowned for their achievements, Lee said he would also like people to be able to see how the Quadrangle Club, where so many of he University's most prominent ideas and technologies were formulated, influenced these brilliant individuals.
In May 2008 it became public knowledge that, as the Club's lease from the University of Chicago runs out, transition already has begun to transfer control to UC, and management companies bids are under review. Fate of employees is uncertain despite some verbal commitments. It is reported likely that the University will want to bundle the tennis courts and 5731 S. University ("Mathematics and Statistics") and demolish them for a future building-- one guess would be for a student union to go along with Reynolds Club and Bartlett, across the street and katy-corner. The Club itself is Orange-rated but not landmarked. (It is likely that one result of this reported plan is to kill at least current thoughts of a historic district east of the University.) The University is committed to keeping and substantially upgrading both the structure and the Club. The employees did vote, unanimously, in favor of the union.
Quad employees look to unionize. Chicago Maroon, May 23, 2008. By Alison Siders
The University has said that it hopes to turn the Quadrangle Club around after years of mismanagement and unprofitability, though it remains unclear what role the Club's current employees will play in the Club's renewal. Employees are seeking union representation to address their concerns over working conditions as the administration works to select a new management company for the facility.
Although the Quadrangle Club is technically an independent entity, the University has played an increasingly large role in its maintenance and management over the last two years, said David Greene, vice president for Strategic Initiatives.
Unhappy with the club's decline, members voted t he University a sustaining member, with a mandate to appoint the new board of directors and assume overall responsibility for club management. In November of last year, the University pledged $10 to $20 million for renovations and improvements to the building and facilities.
The Club's new board of directors, headed by Greene, will select the new management group. Four companies and the current management company have responded to a formal request for bids to assume responsibility for the club, and a decision will be made in the coming weeks, Greene said.
The prospect of new management was welcomed by Quadrangle Club employees, numbering approximately 30, who say they have had problems cashing paychecks and scheduling hour for special events. Moreover, they have had conflicts, sick days, profit sharing, and overtime. "Unfairness pretty much sums it up," said one employee, who asked not to be named because she was concerned that the current management might remain in place.
However, employees were frustrated that they were not given any concrete information about their job security under new management. "Nothing was being told to us. We were always told, "I don't know,'" said another employee who asked not to be named. He added that employees could not be certain that their concerns were discussed during meetings between the University and the club's board of directors. The club's general manager, Christ Nogulich, was the only Quadrangle Club employee who met with University representatives. Nogulich declined to comment for this article.
Quadrangle Club employees first approached the Teamsters Local 743, the same union representing other campus workers, in 2007 to discuss the possibility of unionization. When the union reviewed their petition in March, employees had grown more eager for representation. "We need someone to talk to, to air our grievances," an employee said. On Tuesday, employees will vote to determine whether the union will represent them.
Nearly all the Club employees have signed cards agreeing to union representation, said Bill Silver, a Teamsters representative. He anticipates that Tuesday's vote will pass easily. Many employees believe the union has already given them a voice in discussions with the University. Employees were encouraged by the University's response at a recent hearing organized by the union, during which the University agreed to negotiate with the employees as a collective bargaining unit should the vote pass.
According to employees, the University representatives promised to do all they could to ensure that al employees receive employment at the Quadrangle Club or the University or receive some sort of severance compensation. "Before the union talks, we were told just to 'think positive,'" one employee said.
While Greene acknowledged that the transition may be "unsettling," he emphasized the University's commitment to the club employees. "Our intent all along has been to ensure that employees are treated very well, to make sure that people have opportunities and that there wil be a great transition plan," Greene said. Although the University has not insisted that a new contractor rehire current employees, potential contractors will help employees navigate the change in management, he said. "In interviews, all the potential management companies were very interested in working with the current employees," Greene said.
However, Silver has been frustrated by the University's inability to guarantee employees' positions. "Employees want an official, guaranteed agreement," he said. The union's to priorities will be to encourage the new management company to rehire the employees and to negotiate with the University over solutions for employees not rehired, he said. "The University has big plans for the Club," he said. "Our message is, don't leave employees out of the mix."
New and improved services move Quadrangle Club into new century
University of Chicago Chronicle, December 11 2008. By Josh Schoenwald
The green awning is gone. The landscaping is different. The facility has been deep cleaned, and many of the rooms have been replastered and painted. There is a new menu, with a new kitchen ethos toward fresher, more seasonal offerings. There are new plates, silverware and tablecloths. Even the servers look different; they still dress in black and white, but will wear bistro aprons at lunch and the trademark vests at dinner.
And it's all just the beginning for the Quadrangle Club. The venerable club at 57th Street and University Avenue is undergoing a multi-year makeover. Not only will the infrastructure be improved, the food retooled and staff refocused, but also there are also plans to add building-wide WIFI and an automated billing system and eventually lower rates.
"This is an important responsibility the University has accepted," said David Greene, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the President, and President of the Quad Club. The goal, said Greene, "is to make the club a vibrant part of the University."-- a place where faculty and staff can feel proud to invite visitors to stay. "We believe the club is an important amenity for our faculty, in particular, but also for the whole community. That's why it's so important that faculty and staff see the Quad Club as a great place to be," said Greene.
Some longtime club members are applauding the changes. "The service is already more efficient," said Raphael Lee, Professor of Plastic Surgery, who chairs the Quad Club Members Council. "I really like the new menu. There are lighter, fresher food options. And the quality has improved," said Lee, who has been a member for nearly 20 years.
The makeover of the Quad Club began in August, when the professional hospitality company FLIK International began managing he operation. The choice of FLIK, though was the culmination of a long process. After years of discussion, and after an advisory committee appointed by former Provost Richard Saller examined the club's role, the Quad Club members voted in late 2006 to restructure the organization. The University owns the land it occupies, while the club-- an independent organization since its incorporation more than a century ago--owns the building. Now, however, the University has responsibility for the club's governance.
As an independent organization, the club was financially limited, recalled Lee. The 1922 building, designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw in the Arts and Crafts style, was old, costly to maintain and needed expensive remodeling. The most direct option was to shift the corporate governance to the University; after all, Lee said universities support most faculty clubs.
"The University had both the need and resources to implement the changes needed to revitalize the club. Remarkably, the club was originally structured to enhance University interactions with Chicago business adn social communities. Today, this role has expanded as universities become ever more centrally positioned in national, economic and political development."
Not long after the University began managing the club, Greene began seeking ideas for improvements from current adn former Quad Club members. Greene said it became clear that t6he University needed to bring in a vendor to manage the club. The University issued a request for proposal and interviewed several potential management firms. Greene cited several reasons why the Quad Club board selected FLIK. "We like their commitment to fresh and high-quality food, their reputation for excellent service--they have a training program based on the Ritz-Carlton model-- and their impressive record in running a successful business model for faculty clubs," said Greene.
"They also have attentiveness to detail. All of their properties were absolutely immaculate," said Greene, who visited several FLIK managed facilities in the Midwest and on the East coast. Perhaps most important was FLIK's versatility. "They don't do cookie-cutter work. They can run a program that will reflect the unique culture we have."
FLIK conducted a national search before choosing Ryan Kingston as General manager. Kingston is a hospitality industry veteran with experience managing premier hotels, resorts and luxury private clubs in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Ariz. "We've got a lot of work to do over the next year and a half, but I'm excited to get this ship moving in a positive direction," said Kingston. While major changes are under way, some things will remain. "The culinary focus will be on maintaining some of the traditional classics with a high degree of freshness and a unique flair."
the WIFI and an automated billing system are much anticipated. "It will bring us into the 21st century," said Kingston. For years, members have complained about inaccuracies in their bills and the painfully slow process of getting errant charges corrected. The new system should correct those problems, Kingston said, and increase the speed of service. "The dining room staff presently uses manual systems for ordering and processing food orders. Very soon, they wil be able to use an automated system that will allow them to place the order from the dining room, and it will print at the cook's station for preparation."
The new general manager emphasizes there is much work ahead, including a major overhaul of some structural problems in the hotel rooms, but Kingston has an ultimate goal. "I know that a lot of faculty and staff have their guests stay at hotels downtown now," he said. "I think that some day we can be a great boutique hotel. We're so close to campus, so convenient." "It won't be a year before we'll be able to make a meaningful comparison," said Lee, but "there's a heightened enthusiasm among members. we feel we're going in the right direction."