We, the students of Triton College’s School of Architecture, are writing in an effort to voice our strong opinion regarding the future of the Hill Motor Sales Co. Building, located at 644 Madison St.
We feel that a complete demolition of the historic E.E. Roberts building would be a mistake and have a negative effect not only on the character of Madison Street but set a negative precedent for development in the surrounding area.
During our studies, we have learned the importance of buildings, their historical meaning and their effect on the communities in which they are found. The village of Oak Park has been a focal point for our studies of architecture and design, due to the rich architectural heritage.
Our solution is to utilize an adaptive reuse approach. This would accomplish many positive goals. Adaptive reuse of this structure would conserve energy by utilizing existing structural components, preserve historical and artistic character, create a more unique and interesting space, and blend any future expansion with the current character of the streetscape. There are many other positive outcomes of the adaptive reuse of this building. At the paramount of these is the conservation of Oak Park’s legacy as a place of architectural importance.
Adaptive reuse has already shown to be successful within the village. For example the Walgreens and Sugar Beet buildings located on Madison Street, just a few blocks away. The proposed future use of 644 Madison as a grocery store makes this building an ideal candidate for adaptive reuse.
We implore the Oak Park Village Board to take serious consideration in preserving, not only the architectural history of Madison Street, but the integrity of Oak Park as a whole.
Eugene Micah Muhammed