News / 12.22.15

Throwback Thursday – Great Lakes Naval Station Applied Instruction Building

Provided classrooms, offices and laboratories as well as a full-scale boiler for us in training machinists and boilermen

For this week's Throwback Thursday trip we visit November, 1976 for the opening of the award-winning Applied Instruction Building at the Great Lakes Naval Station, located north of Chicago. This new Epstein designed and engineered $4.6M ($19.1M in 2015) 184,000 square foot building replaced classrooms and training areas that were located in two converted seaplane hangars built in 1941.

The three-story (fully air-conditioned!) Applied Instruction Building accommodated up to 2,000 students and provided classrooms, offices and laboratories as well as a full-scale boiler for us in training machinists and boilermen. The large open classrooms were designed with adaptable study carrels as well to instruct in the use of electronic equipment.

The masonry design of the Applied Instruction Building matched two adjacent buildings in material, yet it has a distinct character of its own - some say reminiscence of a Naval warship. The first floor housed the offices and laboratories and the 2nd and the 3rd floors were identically planned providing classroom space. And if you're curious, the lack, or minimal use of windows, was to meet mid-70s Naval energy conservation criteria. Which shows you how far we've gotten in terms of energy efficient design in the last 40 years considering that now we can achieve unforeseen levels of energy efficiency in buildings that are more or less glass boxes.

Lastly, the Applied Instruction Building was warmly received by the architectural community in '76 and received a national award from the Society of American Registered Architects.