The four-story Masonic Temple/American Indian Center located at 4601 N. Paulina Street is being converted to residential apartments. Designed by architect Allen Webster in 1926 as a Masonic Temple, the building has been home to the American Indian Center, the community center for Chicago’s Native American population, since 1966.
After the American Indian Center recently relocated operations to Albany Park, the building was purchased by developer Saxony Wilson LLC with Bugai Architects for conversion to a residential use. A construction permit for 24 residential units and 18 below grade parking spaces was issued to the developer in early October, 2017. The proposal required upzoning from RS-3 Residential Single-Unit to RM-6 Residential Multi-Unit which was approved by Chicago City Council in spring 2017.
Preservation Chicago supports the adaptive reuse of this historic building. Additionally, we applaud the development team for refining the window design to a more visually compatible, preservation-sensitive design.
However, Preservation Chicago encourages the developer to reconsider the plan to punch window openings through the projecting cornice as this will profoundly impact the overall appearance of the building. With some creative thinking, perhaps with horizontal ribbon windows, the strong horizontal cornice can be left visually intact while providing the necessary natural light to the interior spaces within.