Posts Tagged ‘Constantine Vasilios’

From November of 2006 to December of 2008, Constantine D. Vasilios and Associates, Ltd and architecture is fun inc. had the opportunity to design a Ronald McDonald House that would provide a home away from home for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.

The idea for the house was centered around the concept of two stretched arms welcoming the guests inside, with a dream staircase hugging them upon arrival in the center of the house. Bridging and twisting vertically around a three story fireplace, the stairway quickly became a symbol for the interior of the building. Blown glass lights partially donated by an artist were hung according to positions of planets in the sky and represented the four seasons. Likewise, each of the interiors of the sixteen suites surrounding the staircase were designed with the four seasons in mind.

While working on the project, Constantine commented, “When I was a student in Architecture School I dreamed of working on a project such as this. I wanted to contribute to people and have the contribution matter for others in terms of design. The Ronald McDonald House provided this opportunity.”

The effect of the house became quickly evident from the reactions of those who stayed there. As taken from an excerpt from a Sun Times article published in June 2009 a mother describes her experience of her stay. “The McDonald house in Oak Lawn …is not an antiseptic institution or an impersonal hotel. It is beautiful, well-appointed and inviting. There are two wings of the house facing the street, which the architect designed to look like arms stretching out, I was told…I started to get teary.”

She goes on to say that when her son was released from the hospital and they took him to the house for the first time, he squealed “Oh Beautiful!”, while pointing at the fireplace and the tall spiral staircase that formed the hearth and the heart of the house.

After reading about the reactions that guests had while staying in the Ronald McDonald House, Constantine said, “I felt the three years spent on the project, the meetings, and the turns and twists to stay on the committed course were more than worth it. The emotional roller coaster of getting things ‘just right’ for the guests was communicating. I was touched, moved and inspired like the young man who started the profession 30 years ago committed to making a difference for people through design. Dreams do come true, you know.”

Constantine D. Vasilios serves on the Faculty of Harrington College of Design as an Interior Design instructor, and is Principal of Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates, Ltd.

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Today I am honored to feature the involvement of Harrington College of Design’s Interior Design Instructor Constantine Vasilio’s recent involvement with the Ronald McDonald House program in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

The Ronald McDonald House program began in 1974 based upon a simple idea: provide a home away from home for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.

In November of 2006, two Chicago based firms, Constantine D. Vasilios and Associates, Ltd and architecture is fun inc., were selected to provide Architectural services and Interior Design services for a new building funded by the Ronald McDonald Charities in Oak Lawn, Illinois. The building site for the Ronald McDonald House was adjacent to a grove of trees, and across the street from the Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital. The two firms had just over a year to design and build the Oak Lawn Ronald McDonald House, with the opening scheduled just 13 months later in Christmas of 2008.

From the start, the project presented several challenges. In addition to the short timeline, the project had a moderate budget donated entirely by individuals, the goal to preserve as many trees on the site as possible, and also many site restrictions given the large size of the building. However, work quickly commenced.

The design for the new building took shape to include 16 suites, several living areas, kitchen areas, dining areas, and other spaces for a total area of approximately 24,000 square feet. Inside, collective and individual spaces were created to support families’ physical and emotional needs during their children’s hospital treatments. Features included niches for relaxation, a computer center, a teen space, experiential play spaces, a dream staircase, communal dining room, administrative areas, and a contemplative landscape which seemed to connect the building to the hospital across the street.

Check back in tomorrow to read more about Constantine D. Vasilios and Associates, Ltd and architecture is fun inc.’s concept for the house!

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