IRVING PARK — The transformation of a historic former Masonic Temple into Eris Brewery and Cider House has landed its owners a preservation award.
Landmarks Illinois granted Eris its 2019 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation award for adaptive use last week. The annual awards, now in their 26th year, recognize the exceptional efforts of people who preserve important and historic places in their communities.
The Eris project at 4240 W. Irving Park Road was called an “innovative” transformation of an 107-year-old building sorely in need of renovation.
“Years of subsequent renovations masked the beauty of the original structure. The project team was focused on sustainability and energy efficiency and many strategies were implemented to reduce environmental impact as well as serve as a memory of what came before,” Landmarks Illinois officials said of the project.
Originally built around 1910 as a Masonic Temple for multiple area lodges, the brick building was most recently the Korean Bethel Presbyterian Church. The process of converting it into a lively beer and cider brewery and restaurant began in 2014, with its doors opening last year.
The extensive restoration project “celebrates many of the building’s original features like hand riveted steel beams, brick walls and light fixtures,” foundation officials said.
Co-owners Michelle Foik and Katy Pizza chose the large old building in part because they wanted to have the ability to scale up their brewery and cider house’s production without having to relocate later. So to start, the duo installed more equipment than they initially needed to prepare for the future.
The nomination for the award was a surprise, Pizza said. Architect Cheryl Noel submitted the project for consideration and former Ald. John Arena (45th) wrote a letter of support.
“This award is a huge honor for Eris, especially given its surprise nature,” Pizza said. “It’s personally touching to see that this project still stands out as being memorable and significant to the people who helped get us here.”
The ongoing restoration has so far included old radiators being repurposed as railings, church stove grates being used for lighting over the new kitchen and wood framing being transformed into tables and booths. A unique geothermal heating and cooling system also captures and reuses waste energy for heat and hot water in the building.
Foik and Pizza are only the third owners of the building in its 109-year history.
“Unless you were a practicing Mason, or part of the Bethel Korean Presbyterian congregation, the building would probably be a bit of a mystery,” Pizza said. “By converting it to commercial use, we threw the doors open wide and welcomed everyone. Sixty-year neighborhood residents have expressed amazement that this gem was sitting here the whole time.”
The nine projects recognized by Landmarks Illinois this year, and the people who made them possible, will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 18.
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