Category Archives: JRC Construction Diaries

JRC Construction Diary #28


While there is still a bit of final exterior work to be done, the majority of the work now is primarily interior finish. The pic above shows a lovely view of the bimah construction. You can see how the steps have been cut out and run along the periphery. When finished, the bimah floor will be made of dark walnut.

A radically different kind of picture can be found below. Now why would I possibly be showing you a close-up shot of a toilet handle? This is a feature of JRC’s water saving “dual flush” toilets: you pull the handle up for liquid waste (which needs less water) and push down for solid waste (which uses more water). Our toilets will clearly necessitate a new consciousness raising effort for bathroom usage in our new building. (JRC members: consider yourselves on alert!)

Below this are two views of the reclaimed cypress which is now being installed along the sanctuary walls. The final pic is a view of the Jerusalem stone walkway that leads to the building’s main entrance.

We’re kicking to the finish!





JRC Construction Diary #27

We are now closing in on the final two months of construction. The exterior is now almost completely finished (see pic above.) The next pic below offers include an interior view of the sanctuary. You can see the framework for the bimah platform being constructed and the sound baffle on the left, which will hang directly over the Torah reading table. The second pic down shows reclaimed cypress slats that are currently being installed on the chapel walls and ceiling. (Cypress is a main feature of our building that will also figure prominently in our sanctuary.) Below this is an interior view of our main staircase looking down from the third floor. The next pic shows our parking lot across the street. It has now been completely paved and striped (though it might be hard to tell with all that snow.)

The second pic from the bottom shows one of the cabinets and counter tops in the Religious School workroom. All our cabinet faces and shelving are made from Dakota Burl, which is a wood-like material made from recycled sunflower husks. At bottom there is a photo of the tile in one of the bathrooms. All of the sinks and toilets have been delivered to the site and the plumber will start installing them next week.

We continue to move along with construction, most of which is essentially finish work, such as millwork, installation of doors, counter tops and other final pieces. The bimah will be completed and the walls of the sanctuary will be worked on so that the cypress siding can be installed.

Finally: our local NBC affiliate, NBC5 recently featured JRC’s new building on the evening news. Click here to watch!







JRC Construction Diary #26


We can safely say construction has entered the “home stretch” phase (not a technical term). As you can see from the pic above, the south side exterior is almost complete. The glass on the curtainwall should be installed in the next week or two. The pic below offers a close up view of the gabion fences which run along the south and east side of the building. The fence on the front of the building is approximately four feet tall and filled with pieces of brick, stone and other material from other buildings that were recently demolished. This material would typically go into a landfill and has been reclaimed to be used in our fences. (In the original building plan, gabion was to be used for the entire exterior shell. In the end, we opted for reclaimed cypress instead.)

The next two pix down show our building’s white reflective roof. Most homes and buildings in America, in fact, are built with dark roofs that absorb heat, forcing air conditioners to work up to 20% longer and use a fifth more power. JRC’s reflective roof will help our air conditioning system to work more efficiently, especially during peak usage hours. The small domed items on the second pic down are Solartube skylights that will let natural light into our kitchen.

The second pic from the bottom shows the interior of one classroom and the final shot shows the new sidewalk across the street from our building. We will be working on the remaining sidewalks around the property over the next couple of weeks.






JRC Construction Diary #25


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 façade 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!






JRC Construction Diary #24

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.




JRC Construction Diary #23


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.




JRC Construction Diary #22


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.