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Evanston Art Center Accessibility

The project scope was to provide handicapped accessibility for the 1st Floor of the historic landmark residence that now serves as both an art gallery and classroom facility for the Evanston Art Center, a private organization that leases the building from the City of Evanston. Given the landmark status of the building, the design concept was to minimize the appearance of any accessible changes and construction while meeting all requirements of the ADA.

Because the main entry floor was five feet above street and sidewalk level, the solution incorporated a ramp-sidewalk more than 70 feet in length that maintained a maximum grade of 1:20, thereby eliminating the need for railings. The ramp was also laid out to provide handicapped access into the attached Art Center Greenhouse, now used as a metal sculpture studio. It then winds around existing trees, behind a rebuilt stone wall and new plantings, past the face of the main building and terminates at a rebuilt bluestone landing in front of the main entry door. The stone stairs leading up to the main entry from the street were rebuilt to meet the same new landing elevation and the main 4'-0″ wide carved oak door was reversed to permit unhindered access from the ramp. This door and a second interior door were fitted with concealed pneumatic automatic door operators. The existing toilets on the 1st floor were also reconstructed to provide handicapped access. The project was awarded a 2006 Evanston Preservation Award for Sensitive Addition and Building Alteration.