Category Archives: JRC Construction Diaries

JRC Construction Diary #25

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Much progress since my last construction update. As you can see from the pix above and below, the framing for the curtainwall on the south face of the building has now been installed. The glass for this fa├žade will be installed over the next week or so. Two pix down: a shot of the ceiling grid that is just going up in the second floor corridor and below that is a sample of the ceiling tile in one of the classrooms. Second from the bottom is a view down the elevator shaft and the drill that will bore a 27 foot deep hole for the piston that will power our large elevator. Finally, there is a photo of the frame of the large retractable door that will separate our sanctuary and social hall.

The move in date (end of January) is coming quick – we’re counting down in weeks now!

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JRC Construction Diary #24

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As we enter the home stretch of our construction project, the changes in our building are becoming less dramatic than from earlier this summer (Sadly, drywall taping and sanding is just not a very photogenic event…) Still, above and below you can see some nice pix of the exterior. Above shows the wood beginning on the front facade. The stair treads are due in this week and the metal and glass curtainwall will follow closely behind. The other photo is of the west side wall, which is almost finished, except for an opening at the third floor. We are waiting for the large movable door that will separate the sanctuary and social hall. As soon as that is delivered later this month, the west wall will be closed up and the entire facade will be finished.

The next pic down shows the east wall of the chapel. You can see the ark opening set into the wall on the right, clad in Jerusalem stone. The bottom picture shows the west wall of the social hall, with the drywall now complete.

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JRC Construction Diary #23

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Work has sped up on the project and we currently have twenty to thirty workers per day on the site performing various tasks. The top pic shows the third floor sanctuary – note the Jerusalem stone tile which has now has been installed on either side of the bimah. The drywall installation is nearly complete – the second and third pix below show the interior of the classrooms on the first and second floor – and the taping of the drywall began yesterday.

The cypress siding is now finished on the north and east sides of the building. The bottom pic shows the east wall (you can see the sanctuary windows at the top). The south side will be finished shortly.

The front stairway is now completely in place and the concrete treads will be installed at the end of the month. The south glass wall and supports will be installed soon after.

A final note: I was happy to discover this recent blog post profiling Carol Ross Barney, the talented architect whose firm designed our building. Among other things, it provides a link to a video interview in which Carol discusses her own personal journey and her unique philosophy as a Chicago architect.

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JRC Construction Diary #22

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The Jerusalem stone has now been completely installed. The work this past week has now shifted to the main stairway on the south side of the building. The above pic shows the main stair risers that were installed last week. The stair pans (into which precast concrete will be placed) will be welded in place over the next few days. After the stairs are installed, the main exterior glass wall will set into place (likely late September or early October).

The pic below shows a view of the first floor interior – the reverse side of the stone wall – facing east toward the chapel. The big opening on the right side is a gift shop display case which faces the main office.

The next picture down shows us the north wall, which is the only exterior wall that is 100% finished with cypress siding. We are waiting for our last delivery of wood, which will allow us to finish the remaining three faces of the building.

The bottom pic shows the metal studs which have been installed on the first and second floors. The electricians are “roughing in” the conduit for outlets and switches and drywall will be added to the walls over the next couple of weeks.
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JRC Construction Diary #21

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While we were away in Israel these past two weeks, there was some nice progress on the building, though I am told the exterior work went somewhat more slowly because of some recent heavy rains. The pix above and below show the extensive work on the Jerusalem stone wall that runs along the south end of the building. This aspect of the project has been been critical as the workers cannot begin work on the main staircase until it is complete. The third pic down gives a good view of the cypress siding on the north wall, which has now been completed. They have also almost finished setting up the studs for the interior walls on the first and second floors (see bottom pic).

Looks like more rain is coming this week – thankfully we’re almost finished with the exterior work at this point…

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JRC Construction Diary #20

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There has been some exciting progress on the building, so here’s one more post on the construction before we head off to Israel tomorrow…

The reclaimed cypress siding has started to go up on the exterior walls (see the second and third pix down). The siding will eventually get two coats of clear sealer which will protect and enhance the look of the wood. The Jerusalem stone is now going upon the main wall – the bottom pic shows some of the work that was done yesterday and today. (In case you are wondering, the small shadows on the the stones are made by the spacers that have been placed between the tiles to prepare them for grouting.)

As the pictures above and below indicate, the exterior of the building and the third floor sanctuary window are coming together beautifully. Looking forward to seeing even more progress when I get back to town August 15!

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JRC Construction Diary #19

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There has been a fair amount of progress on our building over the last two weeks. All of the windows have been now been installed: the pic above shows the window framing for the east wall of the third floor sanctuary and the shot below shows the east window of the first floor chapel. The second pic down offers a good view of the windows in the second floor classrooms.

They have also begun polishing the concrete floors (you can see the workers doing just that in the sanctuary shot above.) We are told that this process will continue well into next week.

As I reported in my last diary entry, we have received the shipment of reclaimed cypress siding for the exterior walls. The contractors are still debating the best way to treat the wood before installing it, which will hopefully begin next week. The second pic from the bottom shows a test model of the cypress planks as they will look on the walls.

We have also just received the shipment of the Jerusalem stone (bottom pic) that will clad the entry arch and main interior wall. This installation should begin as soon as the concrete floor polishing is completed.

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JRC Construction Diary #18

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Our first shipment of cypress wood has arrived at the construction site – about half of the material that will serve as our exterior siding. The cypress is 100% reclaimed wood from barns in upstate New York (actually “mushroom houses,” to be completely specific.) After treating the wood with a clear sealer, they will start installing the siding hopefully by the end of the week.

The crew also expects to install the glass in the third floor clerestory on Monday, then proceed to the windows on the rest of the building. During the next few weeks, we should make significant progress on the building’s exterior and have a good sense of what it will eventually look like on the outside.

JRC Construction Diary #17

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The exterior of the building continues to take shape. I’ve juxtaposed the computerized rendering (top) with an actual exterior taken yesterday (next down) to give you a comparison of the virtual with the actual. Below, is a pic of the duct work and electric conduit, now installed in the first floor offices. The second pic from the bottom shows the rear stairs (termed the “Stairway to Heaven” by one contruction worker) that leads from the ground floor to the third floor sanctuary. The bottom pic offers a southward view on the third floor. The black pipe is the “rough-in” plumbing for the bathrooms. You can also see the main air duct and the yellow board enclosure that wraps around the elevator shaft.

We’re about five weeks behind schedule, but with good weather, we are still hoping for an early-Jan occupancy date. On the LEED front, we are currently safely in range for a Gold rating with the US Green Building Council and still have a fighting chance for Platinum (the highest rating!) The final determinant will ultimately come down to cost, but whatever happens, we are so very proud to be building synagogue so thoroughly infused with Green values…

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JRC Construction Diary #16

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The workers have begun the process of putting plywood on the exterior of the building, which will be the first layer of its “outer skin.” The second pic from the bottom shows the installation of the rear stairs, which began Friday and will continue into next week.

As for our neighbors foliage (see last diary entry): alas, the entire tree needed to be cut down. Thankfully, as the pic on the bottom indicates, our third floor view is still quite lush.

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