CRSM, Architect, Receive Prestigious Award for Innovative K-Mart Transformation

Cristo Rey St. Martin, and JGMA Architects were honored with the inaugural 2021 Richard H. Driehaus Legacy Award for Innovation at the Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 23rd.

“We are especially grateful to Juan Moreno and JGMA Architects for bringing life to our vision and creating a beautiful, light-filled home for learning for our students,” said Preston Kendall, president. “The adaptive reuse award honors CRSM for converting and transforming the empty K-Mart into a thriving, innovative high school – and bringing activity back to the area that sat empty for so long.”

Saying he was deeply honored, Moreno said: “We are proud and elated to have received this outstanding accolade as our firm understands this award not only was established to acknowledge and praise innovation in preservation design, but also was established to commemorate the legacy of Richard H. Driehaus. JGMA aims to implement innovation and meaningful design behind every project, we thank the Landmark Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for this distinct recognition.”

Cristo Rey is one of nine outstanding preservation efforts in Illinois to be recognized for “creative, inclusive and sustainable reuse,” honored at the in-person and virtual ceremony held at the historic Davis Theatre in Chicago. Other 2021 award winners include:

• Mercer County Carnegie Library, Aledo: Award for Adaptive Reuse
• Pullman Artspace Lofts, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation
• Chicago Union Station, Chicago: Award for Restoration
• Epiphany Center for the Arts
• West Pullman School Senior Community, Chicago: Award for Adaptive Reuse
• Nauvoo Historic Residences, Nauvoo: Award for Restoration
• Tiger Senior Apartments, Paris: Award for Adaptive Reuse
• Duncan Manor, Towanda: Award for Stewardship

“Our 2021 award-winning projects are models for what preservation can and should be: the creative, inclusive and sustainable reuse of our built environment promoting local job creation and community driven economic development,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “The courageous and visionary people behind these innovative projects deserve recognition for transforming places to serve as equitable housing, accessible art and education centers, and lively gathering spaces that bring awareness to Illinois’ diverse history.”

Architecture firm JGMA led the innovative project to transform the long-vacant former Kmart store into a vibrant campus for Cristo Rey.

“This place is important to me because this is a predominantly Spanish speaking minority community that rarely sees investment,” said Kendall. “It is also a community that feels the pain of violence, feels the pain of unemployment and feels the pain of low wages. This project gives the youth, which is the future, the opportunity to gain knowledge. And as we know, knowledge is power. It provides them with the opportunity to receive higher education as well as exposure to corporate America.”

By reusing this building, Cristo Rey eliminated a barrier to equity by tackling disparities in educational options and provided opportunities to pursue post-secondary education,” said McDonald.