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Bill Sturm and Marty Serena, Architects
The Early Adopters
Twenty years ago, architects Marty Serena (left) and Bill Sturm didn’t make a fuss over the fact that they were building “green.” The energy-saving features they built into early projects, such as an addition to the Solo Cup Company facility in Highland Park, translated better to the client as cost savers. Two decades and dozens of residential and commercial commissions later, the two Notre Dame architecture grads have witnessed a change. “There’s been a paradigm shift; now the clients come and say, ‘How much farther can you take this building?’” says Serena, whose business partnership with Sturm dates from 1983.
In Villa Park, they have topped the police station with a green roof of native Illinois plants, while in Burr Ridge, the architects sank a new headquarters for the Tuthill Corporation slightly into the ground, added such features as computer-controlled window shades, and restored surrounding prairie. The Tuthill building signals a new, cleaner generation of manufacturing and employs just 60 percent of the energy used by a conventional structure of the same size. Serena says the time has finally come when “we don’t have to cloak what we do in other terms. We can call it environmental, because mainstream thinking is there now.” But neither he nor his partner considers what they’re doing to be anything radical. Says Sturm: “It’s really just how buildings ought to have been done all along."
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