Paul Schweikher was an influential mid-century architect and educator. In the 1930s, shortly after starting his own practice, Schweikher acquired a parcel of land in what is now Schaumburg in exchange for architectural services he provided at a nearby property.
His home and studio, completed in 1938, combines redwood, glass and common brick in an abstract composition of planes, masses and voids, carefully attuned to the sun and landscape.
The complex consists of an L-shaped residential portion plus a separate wing for the architect's studio, linked by a covered breezeway.
The complex consists of an L-shaped residential portion plus a separate wing for the architect's studio, linked by a covered breezeway. Interiors combine rough, pink-hued Chicago Common brick with exposed heavy timber structure and refined wood millwork items.
When Schweikher left Chicago in the 1950s for an academic position at Yale, the property was purchased by nuclear physicist Alex Langsdorf and his wife, the abstract painter Martyl. The Langsdorfs maintained and preserved the property, thwarting efforts by the local water district to acquire the property and raze the structure. The property now belongs to the Village of Schaumburg and is maintained as a house museum.
In 2002 VHA prepared a master restoration plan for the property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Per this planning document, portions of the building's exterior masonry, including patios, planters and retaining walls, were restored in 2004.
Working closely with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, VHA developed a new custom mortar mix and sourced new bricks and pavers to faithfully match the original retaining walls, walkways, and planters.
Structural Engineer: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
Photographer: Vinci | Hamp Architects
[All historic images courtesy of the Chicago History Museum/Hedrich Blessing Archive]