2017 IALD Award Winners:
Award of Merit
Wintrust Financial Corporation
by Schuler Shook

Luminaries of the lighting profession gathered at the Crystal Tea Room on 10 May to honor the winners of the 34th Annual International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) International Lighting Design Awards. Twenty-two projects from eight countries were on display – including interiors, monuments, façades, museums, and a residence. This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and inspiring work found anywhere in the world of architectural lighting design.

The Wintrust Financial Corporation in Chicago, IL USA, with lighting design by Schuler Shook, took home an Award of Merit, accepted in person by Giulio Pedota, IALD.

First designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, this 1920s neoclassical space was in desperate need of restoration from lighting design and construction teams. Before the renovation, lighting was terribly imbalanced. The lower half of the 54’ tall grand banking hall was dark and unwelcoming, while the ceiling felt overly bright. Uneven mural illumination plagued the walls, and only the perimeter of the ceiling was lit.

The Schuler Shook team transformed this awe-inspiring space, revealing ornate architectural details with various layers of light. Pairs of narrow distribution, in-grade uplights illuminate columns to accentuate their fluting and Ionic capitols. Existing torchieres have been re-lamped to reduce maintenance and improve color consistency. Continuous, asymmetric uplights concealed within a cove highlight the 12’ tall murals and ornate coffered ceiling, while recessed downlights provide illumination for the reception and circulation areas. Carefully-chosen LED sources meet color, performance, and maintenance goals.

Adjacent to the grand hall are open office areas with a ceiling height of 34’. Historic chandeliers have been refurbished to provide internal illumination and uplight the beautiful ceiling. Recessed downlights are clustered in-between chandeliers to illuminate workstations below. Design and construction teams collaborated to identify dimensional and mounting constraints for recessed lighting. Luminaires were modified to fit within the delicate ceiling, and downlight quantities were greatly reduced without compromising light levels or uniformity.

A new stair connects the lower and upper levels. The steps and adjoining lounges are illuminated by 4” aperture recessed downlights. Across from the stair is a bar for special events, accented with suspended wood features. The design team concealed 2” aperture recessed downlights within the millwork, providing illumination for the counter and shelving behind the bar. When the bar is closed, sliding glass doors are deployed and linear fixtures above illuminate the frosted glass. The lighted doors act as a “scrim” – when viewed from the grand hall, the bar is hidden from view.

“As a historic preservation initiative and complex retrofit, this project meets high expectations as an attractive, sensitive design solution,” one judge wrote. Rarely is a banking hall a destination – not just for employees, but for visitors who wish to see the beauty of this architectural landmark.



Jim Baney, IALD
Emily Klingensmith, IALD
Kim Dai
Schuler Shook


Stantec (formerly VOA)

Wintrust Financial Corporation

Stantec (formerly VOA)

Maron Electric Company

Clune Construction Company

© Tom Harris

Print Friendly, PDF & Email