At AIA Chicago's 62nd annual Designight event, held October 13, the Burlington Room at Chicago Union Station was presented with an Interior Architecture Special Recognition Award for Historic Preservation.
Located just off the station’s monumental Great Hall, the Burlington Room is a 3,900-square-foot space. Originally built as the Women’s Lounge, where ladies could wait for their trains and enjoy the services of the adjacent beauty parlor and other facilities, the space had long been closed to the general public and had fallen into disrepair.
In 2015, Amtrak identified the space for improvement. Restoration of the room included meticulous analysis of existing painted and glazed finishes in order to uncover the original color scheme. The four murals adorning the upper walls had sustained significant water and dirt damage over time. Artists worked to clean the murals and inpaint any damage for three of the murals; the fourth mural, which suffered extensive damage, was digitally scanned and reprinted.
The reclaimed and restored room now brings back the original glamour, serving as a flexible special events space—and one of the largest non-hotel meeting rooms in the city, holding up to 295 guests.
"In this day and age," one juror commented, "expectations for transit are diminished. To restore this room into this state, well, it's just gorgeous."
For more information, visit the AIA Chicago website.