659 W Wrightwood

Private Art Gallery

Chicago’s distinguished residential neighborhood of Lincoln Park is the new home of 659 West Wrightwood, a private art gallery converted from a 1930s-era apartment building. Boasting an iconic red common brick façade, the defining aesthetic of the local area allows this three-story, 32,000 square foot building to blend in with the immediate streetscape and surrounding luxury apartment buildings.

Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Japanese Architect Tadao Ando, may have kept the new cultural space’s historical façade and perimeter walls, but the remainder of the building was demolished and recreated to showcase socially engaged art and contemplative architectural exhibits. This new architectural landmark serves as an outlet for events, private art showings, and prestigious fundraisers.


Chicago, IL


  • Gensler - Architect of Record
  • Norcon, Inc. - Construction Manager
  • Tadao Ando Architect & Associates - Design Architect
  • Thornton Tomasetti - Structural Engineer

Building Size

34,000 square feet

Traveling art collections require strict indoor environments, consistent humidity levels, and reliable air quality and temperature control. These conditions are necessary for protecting high quality and high value artwork. Being even a few degrees or setpoints off could destroy the art’s integrity. AEI utilized their system design deployed in the world’s top art galleries and museums as such the Smithsonian, Uffizi Gallery – promoting proven reliability and resiliency.

In the Wrightwood space, the mechanical system was integrated seamlessly to ensure the stringent environmental conditions were upheld. In addition, the building envelope was enhanced by thicker than standard insulation and triple-pane windows to control humidity in the winter months, making the facility impenetrable from extreme weather conditions.

AEI’s architectural lighting design studio, Pivotal Lighting Design, developed new and legacy lighting and control technologies to be adaptable to inevitable changes in technology.

Through the combination of concealed wired and wireless control points, programming and recall of customized scenes for white light and color-changing elements can be accomplished from anywhere within the building. The electrical and lighting design system allows for intelligent control of light fixtures and unlimited flexibility of exhibits and placement of artwork. AEI provided mechanical, electrical, piping/plumbing, and fire protection engineering, technology systems design, security design, and architectural lighting design services.