Robert R. McCormick House

Wheaton, Illinois

The McCormick House at Cantigny Park, located in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton and owned by the McCormick Foundation, was the country residence of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime publisher of the Chicago Tribune.  Built in 1896 by his grandfather, Joseph Medill, the founder of the Chicago Tribune, the house was designed by the noted Boston firm Shepley Rutan & Coolidge.  Col. McCormick added flanking pavilions, designed by Georgia architect Willis Irvin, to the main house in 1936.  The restored house now serves as an event space and house museum, explaining the Colonel’s life and legacy and the foundation’s mission of education, civic engagement and advocacy for the First Amendment.

VHA’s services included programming, professional services from Schematic Design through Construction Administration, interior design and art conservation. Work included a comprehensive restoration of the exterior and interior, the creation of classroom and exhibition galleries as well as venues for income generating events.

VHA assembled a team of structural, mechanical, building envelope and code/life safety consultants to determine existing conditions of the 25,000 sf building.  Client programming determined user needs and space planning “test fits.”  The renovated building is fully accessible on all levels, has new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and life safety systems as well as a full plating kitchen.

Historic materials both inside and out were conserved and restored.  During the restoration, VHA worked in coordination with planner and landscape architect Sasaki Associates, who conceived and implemented a multi-year masterplan for the Cantigny Park site and designed the landscape surrounding the house.


Structural Engineer: Enspect Engineering, Inc.

MEP/Fire Protection: McGuire Engineers PC

Civil Engineer: Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.

Code & Accessibility: Gerald Gross, AIA

Building Envelope & Materials: Wiss Janney Elstner Associates

Landscape Architecture: Sasaki Associates

Lighting Design: Randy Burkett Lighting Design

Construction Manager: Bulley & Andrews

Photography: Tom Rossiter