Size: 317,683 GSF
Type: Multiplex Condominium
Definition: New


Owner – Mather LifeWays, Evanston, IL
Architect/Designer – Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates, Chicago, IL
Structural Engineer – Halvorson & Partners, Chicago, IL
General Contractor – Power Construction Company, LLC, Schaumburg, IL
Masonry Contractor – Illinois Masonry Corp, Lake Zurich, IL
Masonry Supplier – Bricks Inc, Aurora, IL
Masonry Supplier – Northfield Block Company, Mundelein, IL
Masonry Supplier – Architectural Cast Stone – West Chicago, IL
Landscape Architect – Daniel Weinbach & Partners, Chicago, IL

As Evanston’s tallest structure closest to Lake Michigan, The Mather, a “new urbanist” continuing care retirement community, provides unparalleled views of the lake. It is uniquely situated two blocks each from Lake Michigan and Northwestern University, on the edge of a vibrant downtown, and near a beautiful residential historic district. Its articulated masonry façade enables it to fit seamlessly within the neighborhood context of masonry buildings from the early 1900’s. A rusticated cast stone base provides eye level scale and texture. Cast stone Juliet balconies, quoining, parapet panels, and other rich details articulate the Norman brick clad tower and provide a scale and rhythm that is further accentuated by the frequent plane changes of the façade. Use of soldier courses at window heads, cast stone accent bands, and decorative brick panels provide further scale and character. These details, along with the careful placement of the building, result in an overall impression of a high-quality masonry building that has been in the neighborhood for years.

Construction of The Mather began in October 2007. With site access from the west and south sides only, construction logistics were extremely challenging. Approximately 1500LF Hydro Mobile components were used to surround the façade and were utilized from the ground level through the 11th floor. The Hydro Mobile towers were installed by means of a tower crane and were removed at the end of the project with a large mobile crane. The entire assembly was enclosed and heated for installation of the masonry during the winter months. Overhead protection was installed around the entire scaffolding system as the masonry was ongoing with installation of exterior wall, windows, and patio doors. With the exception of extreme cold or wind, the installation of masonry ran continuously throughout the winter months.

The construction of the exterior masonry wall involved attaching the cast stone and brick to a heavy gauge stud wall sheathed with DensGlass and weather barrier. Quality control meetings were regularly held to insure that the integrity of the wall was maintained prior to and during the installation of the masonry skin. Regular walks with technical staff from various product manufacturers were scheduled to insure compliance with their specifications. Shelf angles and coursing were complicated to manage since the coursing of the cast stone did not always align with the brick coursing.

Since site access was problematic, the mason had to share access to the scaffold with other trades so that the entire skin could be completed as the scaffold was raised and then eventually lowered. This coordination required flexibility on the mason’s part in order to shift manpower from location to location as other trades required access for their work.

Completed in September 2009, the community provides 141 homes, encompassing 34 different floor plans and averaging 1,400+ square feet and ranging in price from $300,000 - $1,800,000. The community will provide a continuum of living options with 10 assisted living homes, 12 memory support suites, and 35 skilled nursing suites.