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R E N O V A T I O N / R E S O
R E N O V A T I O N / R E S O T R A T I O N
PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE
PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE

GIVING VOICE TO HISTORY

BY MARY E. KREMPOSKY , ASSOCIATE EDITOR

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CAM MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 2010

E vangelista Corporation, New Hudson,

has restored a classic space within one

of the most prominent buildings in

Detroit’s Cultural Center. With its decorative cornices and tall windows encased in an ornamental bronze grille, the long-vacant library within the Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building has been brought back to life as an appealing study hall for Wayne State University’s Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD). Working with JW Design, Royal Oak, as architect and Strategic Energy Solutions, Berkley, as engineer, Evangelista Corporation inserted contemporary infrastructure into this second-floor study space, while preserving the former library’s Art Deco elements. The same project team undertook the conversion of a Rackham kitchen and cafeteria into a state-of-the-art Hearing Sciences Laboratory. WSU leases the entire wing of this grand old building from the University of Michigan as clinical and classroom space for both CSD and the Psychology Department.

CITY BEAUTIFUL Designed by Harley, Ellington and Day in the 1930s, the Rackham Building rises across Farnsworth from the Detroit Institute of Arts and near the Detroit Public Library. All three buildings form the Cultural Center Historic District placed on the U.S National Register of Historic Places in 1983. All three were created in the first half of the 20th Century as part of the City Beautiful movement, a grand vision to inspire social harmony and civic virtue through the creation of monumental and beautiful buildings. The building’s namesake was one of the original stockholders of Ford Motor Company. “Henry Ford and other leaders used to hold meetings in the building in the 1940s,” said Vince Pulsinelli, Evangelista project manager and superintendent. The Rackham Building contains storied but now unused spaces, including a former bowling alley, a poolroom, and a large auditorium. “The auditorium is unbelievable,” said Pulsinelli. “It is like a small Fox Theater. At one time, the library, itself, was one of the focal points of the building.” Today, the former library inspires CSD students to excel in the disciplines of speech-language pathology and audiology. Modest in square footage but grand in height, the 25-foot-tall study space has a mezzanine and a main room now with Wi Fi access and a host of new technologies

room now with Wi Fi access and a host of new technologies “ Vo i c

“ Vo i c e O f T h e C o n s t r u c t i o n I n d u s t r y ” ®

threaded through its plaster walls and ceilings. Flexible, functional, charming and elegant, Evangelista’s renovation of this jewel of a study hall has given CSD faculty and students a great place to work and study.

ENTERING THE 21ST CENTURY Evangelista launched the project in late May 2009 with demolition of old shelving, woodwork and carpeting. Another step in the renovation was inserting contemporary infrastructure without marring the room’s appearance. The Evangelista crew worked behind the scenes – or actually above and below – to hide all wiring and conduit. The Evangelista crew worked above and walked across the plaster ceiling to thread all the wiring for wall sconces, light fixtures, operable blinds, and a projection system and screen into the new study hall.“We actually walked right on top of the plaster ceilings, and sometimes crawled, to fish the wiring down the wall,” said Pulsinelli. “Back in those days, the plaster was thick, almost an inch-and-a-half, and the ceiling solidly built with lathe and black iron.” Installing the electrical floor mounts entailed a repeat performance within the ceiling space of the first-floor lobby. “We crawled on our hands and knees to get under the lobby’s plaster ceiling,” said Pulsinelli. Thanks to the intrepid crew, this historic room is now serviced with contemporary infrastructure, including a row of window shades that rise and fall in sync. The only remotely visible piece of infrastructure is a new sprinkler system composed of small, discreet circles in the ceiling that release and “pop down” in the event of a fire.

PAST MEETS PRESENT The hall is a study in the classic character of historical buildings. The Evangelista team of trade contractors repaired the stately row of tall, narrow windows, replacing several broken panes of glass and cleaning the bronze interior mullions by hand with a special solution, said Pusinelli. These elegant windows draw in natural light and offer a wonderful view of the Art Deco bronze grille covering the window exterior. The decorative abstract floral pattern is repeated in the newly cleaned and restored mezzanine railing. The Evangelista team also restored the function and character of the main room’s original lights by disassembling, rewiring,

Vi s i t u s o n l i n e a t w w w. c a m m a g a z i n e o n l i n e . c o m

Evangelista Corporation brought this long-vacant library back to life as a study hall for Wayne
Evangelista Corporation brought this long-vacant
library back to life as a study hall for Wayne State
University’s Department of Communication
Sciences & Disorders.
PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE
& Disorders. PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE Evangelista Corporation has established itself as a highly
& Disorders. PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE Evangelista Corporation has established itself as a highly
& Disorders. PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE Evangelista Corporation has established itself as a highly

Evangelista Corporation has established

itself as a highly qualified general contractor. We've accomplished this by building an experienced management team with working knowledge of all phases of construction, and listening closely to the needs of our clients. We maintain excellent communication with architects, engineers and consultants as we progress through each phase of construction.

Our experience over the past 15 years gives

to

Evangelista

Corporation

the

ability

transform ideas, plans and specifications into successful building projects.

We are structured to bid, negotiate, manage and contract any project regardless of size.

manage and contract any project regardless of size. The Evangelista Edge is the commitment to your
manage and contract any project regardless of size. The Evangelista Edge is the commitment to your
manage and contract any project regardless of size. The Evangelista Edge is the commitment to your
manage and contract any project regardless of size. The Evangelista Edge is the commitment to your
manage and contract any project regardless of size. The Evangelista Edge is the commitment to your

The Evangelista Edge is the commitment to your complete satisfaction of quality construction, on time and within budget.

of quality construction, on time and within budget. 55800 G RAND R IVER A VE ,
of quality construction, on time and within budget. 55800 G RAND R IVER A VE ,
of quality construction, on time and within budget. 55800 G RAND R IVER A VE ,
of quality construction, on time and within budget. 55800 G RAND R IVER A VE ,

55800 GRAND RIVER AVE, SUITE 150 | NEW HUDSON, MI 48165 | 248-888-0400 PHONE | 248-486-6426 FAX

WWW. EVANGELISTA CORPORATION.COM

CAM MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2010

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PHOTO BY MARCI CHRISTIAN, CAM MAGAZINE

PHOTO COURTESY OF EVANGELISTA CORPORATION

PHOTO COURTESY OF EVANGELISTA CORPORATION

PHOTO COURTESY OF EVANGELISTA CORPORATION

RENOVATION/RESOTRATION
RENOVATION/RESOTRATION
COURTESY OF EVANGELISTA CORPORATION RENOVATION/RESOTRATION Anthony Cacace, Ph.D., CCC-A, one of the leading authorities

Anthony Cacace, Ph.D., CCC-A, one of the leading authorities on tinnitus research in the country, is now conducting cutting-edge research in this newly renovated laboratory.

cutting-edge research in this newly renovated laboratory. and cleaning the metal fixtures. “The light fixtures

and cleaning the metal fixtures. “The light fixtures didn’t work at all,” said Pulsinelli. “We removed the old-style wiring, and then rewired the lights and installed new lamps.” New pendant fixtures in the mezzanine complement the original light fixtures and

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CAM MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 2010

The 25-foot-tall study space has a mezzanine and a main room with Wi Fi access
The 25-foot-tall study space has a mezzanine and a main
room with Wi Fi access and a host of new technologies
threaded through its plaster walls and ceilings.
Conversion of a former cafeteria into a lab included removal and restoration of the original
Conversion of a former cafeteria into a lab
included removal and restoration of the
original wood wainscoting and
its installation in Cacace’s office.

are a vast improvement over the 2 x 4 fluorescent fixtures formerly in place. Evangelista also cleaned, but left untouched, two bands of decorative painting from the 1930s. The first band is the main room’s ornamental plaster cornice painted to

resemble metal with complementary vertical bands of turquoise and coral. The second is a decorative strip dividing the mezzanine and main ceilings with a geometric pattern in varied hues of green.“They wanted to use the cornice and decorative strip as a focal point of

“Voice Of The Construction Industry”®

the room,” said Pulsinelli. Contemporary materials, colors and patterns, such as those in the new carpeting, complement these original elements. Contemporary insertions also bring their own functionality and flair to the study space. Clustered panels of white marking boards have replaced old wooden bookshelves. DIRRT panels have replaced old bookshelves with backlit panels, illuminating the lovely leaf patterns of these turquoise-colored glass and acrylic panels. In one instance, Evangelista altered the actual space by inserting a new dividing wall to carve out a small conference room. As in the main spaces, new carpeting and a new coat of paint complete the transformation. Marrying the old and the new, Evangelista worked an original wheel-shaped light fixture into a standard acoustical ceiling. Of the study room overall,“It is wonderful and incredibly flexible,” said Jean Andruski, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “The students use it for study, and we use it for different seminars, while the new conference room is used for faculty meetings. The psychology department has even borrowed the study space from us for training seminars.” New tenure-track faculty even delivered presentations in the newly renovated facility. This unique and newly renovated enclave aids the department in attracting quality faculty and students. “It is really an appealing space,”Andruski added.“We show it off to everybody we can. It is really one of those things that sets us apart.” In the study hall’s elevator lobby, Evangelista added to the facility’s historical character by refurbishing the former library’s old wood card catalogue, a shelving unit composed of dozens of small cubbies once filled with the well-thumbed index cards commonly used by libraries across the globe before the computer age. Evangelista worked throughout the summer and finished in late September 2009 on this distinctive study space, as well as miscellaneous flooring installation and painting for miscellaneous stairways and hallways.

FROM KITCHEN TO LABORATORY Evangelista worked concurrently on the conversion of a former kitchen and cafeteria into a lower-level laboratory. Anthony Cacace, Ph.D., CCC-A, one of the leading authorities on tinnitus research in the country, is now conducting cutting-edge research in this former eatery. The room was in terrible disarray before

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disarray before Visit us online at w w w. c a m m a g a

CAM MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2010

19

RENOVATION/RESOTRATION
RENOVATION/RESOTRATION

the Evangelista team took over and renovated the 800-square-foot space by interior demolition and installation of new drywall ceilings and walls. The newly renovated space now houses two specialty sound-treated testing booths (both outside of Evangelista’s scope of work) that aid in a number of research initiatives. One booth is

used to conduct national research on a cutting-edge method of suppressing tinnitus called trans-cranial magnetic stimulation. “There are very few people in the country and only a couple places in the world that use this method of stimulating the brain to suppress tinnitus,” said Cacace. Cacace is on the brink of submitting his

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CASS SHEET METAL (313) 571-C.A.S.S. 5641 CONNER • DETROIT, MI 48213

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CAM MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 2010

research for publication. In the future, students in the newly renovated study hall may be
research for publication. In the future,
students in the newly renovated study hall
may be reading research results generated
in the laboratory below them.
As part of the renovation, Evangelista
removed and restored the old wood
wainscoting on the perimeter of the former
cafeteria and re-installed it in Cacace’s office.
“It wasn’t in great condition,” said Pusinelli,
“but we fixed it up to retain some of the old
flavor of the building.” Added Cacace,“They
did a nice job.” Of the lab itself, Cacace is
equally pleased. “Now students have a nice
place to work,” he added.
The opening of the new study hall and
Cacace laboratory in late January 2010 was
music to the ears of the Department of
Communication Sciences & Disorders. The
project is also a testament to the skill of
Evangelista Corporation. News must travel,
for the company is already hard at work
remodeling the Music Department in Old
Main, as well as a lower-level coffee shop in
the Student Activities Building, and an
elevator project in the adjacent Education
Building, according to Mark A. Evangelista,
P.E., president of the company. Gaining more
projects is always a sound reward for a job
well done.
RACKHAM LIBRARY AND CACACE
LABORATORY SUBCONTRACTORS:
• DIRTT Panels – American Interiors,
Wixom
• Glazing – Glasco Corp., Detroit
• Flooring, Marble Sills New and
Restored – Contract Design Group,
Royal Oak
• Doors and Hardware – LaForce, Inc.,
Troy
• Painting – Skylite Painting Co., Livonia
• Motorized Shades – Drapery by
Ernest, Inkster
• Plumbing – Western Mechanical,
Clinton Township
• Fire Protection – Tri-Star Fire
Protection, Plymouth
• HVAC – Western Mechanical,
Clinton Township
• Electrical – LeCom Electric, Inc.,
Roseville
• Selective Demolition, Carpentry,
Acoustical Ceilings – Evangelista
Corporation, New Hudson
Subcontractors and professional consultants
listed in this feature are identified by the
generalcontractor,architectorowner.

“Voice Of The Construction Industry”®