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Jul, 2021

August 2021 – Illinois State Armory Restoration and Renovation

Tilton, Kelly + Bell is currently designing a renovation and restoration for the historic Illinois State Armory building, working for the Illinois Capitol Development Board and with Central Management Services.  The Armory is a 1930’s WPA building in Springfield, Illinois, prominently facing the Illinois State Capitol building.  Planning will be coordinated with the Capital Complex Master Plan, concurrently under development; the State Historical Preservation Office will review preservation efforts.

Vacant for approximately ten years, the Armory presents a deteriorated condition, with considerable water damage from the roof affecting both the interior and the façade, and with outdated systems and condition throughout. The historic multi-story drill hall will be partially restored in a modified version, creating a dramatic core for the building’s future accommodation of 800 state workers.  The original building contained 90,000 square feet of offices in separate vertical towers; current plans will add 96,000 square feet of office space by incorporating a portion of the drill hall volume.  New offices will increase efficiency per state guidelines.

The project work includes a new roof, new skylights, a restored limestone façade, interior and exterior accessibility modifications, and a new circulation pattern and core location.  Comprehensive code and condition updates are required to the architecture and MEP systems throughout, with the goal of providing flexible, functional, and aesthetically pleasing office space to meet current and future needs.

Section through the original Auditorium

HVAC Distribution Diagram

Jun, 2021

June 2021 – Regional Transportation Authority

With TKB as architect, the Regional Transportation Authority consolidated its headquarters in a single 28,000 square foot floor in Chicago. The RTA’s formerly traditional office space standardized on efficient workstations for each employee and takes advantage of the natural light afforded through the building’s interior light court and exterior windows.  Collaborative spaces with accessible technology, large and small, are distributed throughout the floor. The break room, connecting to daylight and the perimeter, can double as a large reconfigurable, all-hands meeting space when sliding glass walls are retracted to join adjacent conference rooms with the break area.

A separate public facing service area, distinct from the Authority’s formal reception entrance, welcomes and accommodates transit riders with special needs.

Signage with photos of RTA commuter stations reinforces the RTA identity and will integrate with the Authority’s collection of transit-based art.


June 2021 – UIUC Noyes Laboratory of Chemistry First Floor Renovation

Under its retainer contract with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, TKB converted an existing unused instructional laboratory at the 1902 Noyes Laboratory building into a new general assignment lecture hall complete with current audio-visual technology. This work required decommissioning the former lab with its abandoned gas piping without disrupting ongoing experiments in nearby labs. To accommodate the new lecture hall, an adjacent faculty office was converted to an equipment room for a new air handling unit with air ducted to the lecture hall.  A second door was added to the lecture hall to accommodate exit requirements for the greater room occupancy, and new AV equipment was integrated into the newly designed lecture hall. 

All work required a sympathetic understanding of the building’s historic character; this was an especial focus for the building exterior and the public areas of the building. Historically accurate replacement windows were installed in corridors and designated classrooms.  Terrazzo floors in stairs and corridors were repaired and replaced to match existing.  Wood doors were restored, and millwork trim matches existing.  New LED lighting and corridor sprinkler heads were installed in the renovation area; the design reflects the original corridor lighting appearance with new technology.

All work was carefully scheduled to coordinate with breaks in the academic calendar. Work is fully executed, and the lecture hall is in high demand.

May, 2021

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Education Building – Elevator Upgrades & Restroom Renovation

As part of TKB’s retainer contract with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, TKB has completed work on UIUC’s Education Building with an elevator upgrade and restroom renovation. TKB’s work first developed a scope of work that fit within the available funds and priorities by working with the project team’s cost estimator and University’s Facilities and Services Department.  The constructed scope focused on expanding women’s restrooms, the creation of an additional all-gender restroom, and full modernization of both elevators. The building now has fully accessible vertical transportation and renovated, code-compliant accessible women’s and all-gender toilet rooms, meeting current code requirements within a fifty-six-year-old structure. The construction expanded the women’s restroom capacity to better match current student demographics.

Maintaining functional use of the building throughout construction was the most significant project challenge, requiring consecutive modernization of the north and south elevators. Continuous access to an operating elevator and toilet rooms was achieved by overlaying two critical path tracks for long elevator lead times and the toilet room renovations.  One of the men’s restrooms was temporarily converted to women’s use to facilitate simultaneous renovation of all women’s toilet rooms.

May 2021 – City of Chicago, 2 North LaSalle Office Consolidation

TKB has completed its work on a fast-paced City of Chicago office consolidation project. The project allowed the City of Chicago to right size its space to meet its current and future requirements. The approximately 220,000 square foot office space, spread over eleven floors, includes ample shared meeting spaces, more huddle rooms and fewer private offices, and offices that are efficiently designed for function.  The projects consolidates City offices from multiple locations.


Small group huddle rooms are embedded into departments to enhance collaborative teaming and to accommodate video calls and quiet work.  All floors have large conference rooms with updated audiovisual capability and break rooms for informal gathering, and there is a shared conference center for larger events and receptions.  Access to daylight is emphasized for all employees.  The project mixes new and reused furniture: conference room, workstation, and office furniture is new – fitted to the updated standards – while existing storage components are primarily reused.

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Designed to meet LEED Silver requirements, the project provides the City with modernized offices featuring newly efficient lighting, more daylight access, and greater collaborative space, all delivered within a modest budget.  TKB was a subconsultant to Johnson Lasky Kindelin on this project.

To see more photos of this project, click here.


Apr, 2021

TKB Newsletter – April 23rd, 2021 – Returning to Work: Redesigning the office Post-Covid

For the past year, remote working has become the “norm” for many, resulting in many major shake ups in how business is conducted. With numerous Covid vaccines now available, the serious questions are ‘how do we return to the workspace safely?’ and ‘what will be different?’. To answer, we must first look at how Working From Home and the pandemic have changed priorities and opinions about the workplace.

Remote working and WFH have significantly accelerated the shift from a workplace-centric to a workercentric approach, away from cost-revenue based designs aimed at getting the most workstations per square foot to designs meant to enhance the overall employee experience. Worker safety is the top priority. Safety factors include air quality and filtration, safety procedures, overall office cleanliness, and density; these are key factors in providing a sense of security that promotes worker well-being, happiness, and productivity. Equally important, employees are looking for a sense of belonging, community, and productive purpose; it matters whether the work they are completing from their living room desk is meaningful and  contributes to a broader goal.  While promoting safety from Covid, WFH has numerous downsides. Workers may struggle with a sense of isolation and disconnection from social engagement, collaboration, and productivity


What do these priorities and concerns mean for the office? They present us with an opportunity to re-examine and re-design the workspace in a fundamental way. As architects, we are freed to creatively design for safe, flexible office plans that promote productivity and a shared sense of community whether in-person or remote. Hybrid offices allowing for both in-person and remote access are evolving. The primary function of the office may shift to a collaborative space, while individual desks would serve as plug-in stations and resource access. With the increased shift to remote-work,  hoteling will increase, freeing up space and costs, allowing for ever- greater focus on improvements that promote seamless collaborative communication. A successful office will be flexible, multipurpose and multi-modal. The act of working no longer occurs in a specific place; offices will reflect and further facilitate this change.


Illinois Capital Development Board Announces Design Firm for Rebuild Illinois Funded Renovation of State Armory Building

Tilton, Kelly + Bell is excited to be a part of this exciting new project with the Illinois Capital Development Board!

To read more about it, please visit the Capital Development Board’s website.

Dec, 2020

December 2020 – UIC Outpatient Care Center

TKB delivered design services for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Outpatient Care Center. Simple in concept, the project involved the replacement of a tile floor which had failed that covered public corridors on all four floors of the building.  TKB studied various replacement materials; UIC decided upon terrazzo, the preferred but more costly option, for the major public areas including the adjoining public bridge. Upper floors utilized a high-performing resilient flooring material.


The complexities of the project involved noisy and dusty demolition of old tile in a medical building operating six days a week.  With a team effort among the contractor, UIC’s project manager, and TKB, most demolition work occurred after hours, and the project was phased to retain the necessary pathways to exits and the adjoining hospital.   Construction documents outlined stringent protection, separation, public access, and exit requirements throughout the course of the project.

The public corridor changes adhered closely to the building’s original design concept, with simple patterns for the terrazzo and flooring designs.

Happy Holidays From TKB!

Happy Holidays from the TKB Team to you and yours!

Jun, 2020

TKB Newsletter – June 22, 2020 – Wayfinding and Signage

COVID-19 has forced companies and individuals everywhere to adapt, creating new procedures and guidelines for everything from wearing a mask to safely navigating a business. Now comes the new challenge of communicating these measures in an easy to understand way. Signage is a simple and effective way to share your message but can easily be muddled by poor text, graphics, or placement. Listed below are a few simple strategies to keep in mind when creating your own signage.



Visit the CDC website below for general guidelines on social distancing. Re-opening strategies as recommended by the CDC post the pandemic:


Industry Solutions:

Effective Wayfinding and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Signage for Hospitals, Health Systems, and Medical Centers

How Brands Are Revamping Their Logos and Taglines During COVID-19

Hospital Wayfinding Program at Kaleida Hospital


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