Annie May Swift Renovation

Project Status

Construction Start: June 2007
Completion: June 2008

Project Description & Statistics

Northwestern University is completely renovating Annie May Swift Hall (AMS), one of the oldest surviving buildings on the Evanston campus. Originally constructed for the School of Oratory and still occupied by its successor, the School of Communication (SoC), the building has an estimated 27,000 gross square feet consisting of three stories, plus a garden level and attic. Program spaces include Faculty and Staff Offices, Seminar Rooms, Auditorium, Flexible Teaching Lab, Graduate Students space, Support and Mechanical Spaces. The departments of Performance Studies and Radio/Television/Film will occupy the renovated building.

Listed as an Evanston Landmark and designed by Charles R. Ayers, Annie May Swift Hall dates from 1907 with a north section added in the 1920s. Chicago meat-packer Gustavus F. Swift contributed funds for the building, which was named in memory of his daughter who died from typhoid fever while a student at Northwestern. A brick and limestone structure, Annie May Swift was designed in an eclectic mixture of Venetian Gothic Revival, Romanesque, and Spanish Renaissance styles. The original building has an exterior decorative patterning of brickwork and terracotta, with the north addition more or less handled in the same manner. Stylistic features include: round-arched entrances, paired round-arched windows, horizontal rustication at the second level, patterned brickwork at the third level, and a hip roof with a projecting bracketed cornice. With the exception of three classrooms, the first floor interior lobby and the main stair, little remains of the interior’s original character. Historic photos are available online.

During construction the building will be vacated so that extensive demolition and renovation can be done. Existing office uses on the upper floors will return to the building after construction has been completed and new offices, toilets, and mechanical room will be built in the Garden Level. The large auditorium will be renovated/restored as a theater/lecture hall for the showing of films, lectures and panel discussions. Scope of work includes historic restoration of the exterior and some interior spaces, renovation of the auditorium and faculty/staff offices, replacement of all MEP, life safety and telecommunications systems, addition of restroom facilities, and installation of an elevator.

Construction Cost: Approximately $11,000,000.00

Project Team

Project Management:
Ron Nayler , Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
Bonnie Humphrey, Director Facilities Management Design & Construction
Sue Budinsky, Project Manager

Architect, Engineers & Consultants:
Preservation Assessment: Anne McGuire and Associates
Architects and Engineers: Austin AECOM
Preservation Architects: Harboe Architects
Structural Engineers: Austin AECOM and Wiss Janney Elstner Engineers
Acoustic Consultant: Schuler Shook
Audio/Visual -Acoustic Consultants: Talaske
Hazardous Material Consultants: Carnow and Connibear
Material Testing: STS Consultants

General Contractor:
Turner Construction SPD

Awards & Certificates

The Annie Mae Swift Renovation project received a 2010 Design Evanston award in the Architectural Design: Rehabilitation/Renovation category.

"Masterful restoration and revealing of historic character and original details preserves one of Evanston's most significant 19th century buildings for the 21st century and beyond."

Founded in 1980, Design Evanston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit advocacy organization promoting good design in Evanston, Illinois.

Contact Information

All questions or complaints should be directed to:

Sue Budinsky, Project Manager
Northwestern University
Facilities Management Design & Construction
2020 Ridge Avenue, Suite 250
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847-491-3677
Fax: 847-491-3869
s-budinsky@northwestern.edu