Members in the News

Michelangelo Sabatino receives Preservation Award

by Lacey Sikora | Feb 13, 2023

Last month, Serge Ambrose and Michelangelo Sabatino were recognized by the Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside for the restoration of their home and garden. The 2022 Preservation Award recognizes the couple’s efforts to restore the 1939 International Style structure, known as the Benda House, both inside and out.

Sabatino, a professor of architectural history and historic preservation at Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture, and Ambrose, an architect and engineer focused on 20th-century architectural heritage, brought a wealth of knowledge to the project when they purchased their home in Riverside.

Both are also active with Docomomo US, an international organization for the advocacy and documentation of modern buildings and sites. They make clear that their four-year project was guided by a preservation mindset. “This is a sensitive restoration, not a remodeling,” Ambrose said. According to Sabatino, “We approached this with the idea of repairing not replacing, with a preservationist’s ethos.”

Sabatino points out that their architect-designed home stands apart from its eclectic neighbors. Unlike traditional style pattern-book homes, this modern house was sited keeping in mind solar orientation so that the living and dining rooms were in the rear of the house, where they would get southern exposure. A prominent two-car garage at the front of the house speaks to the inevitable rise of the car as a part of suburban living. The couple worked to reveal the modern spirit of the home and were guided by original blueprints from architect Winston Elting, which have been passed from owner to owner of the home. They also researched what building materials were specified by the architect and used by the Berwyn-based builder Arvid Viren.

Read the full story including photos here.

Michelangelo Sabatino joined SAH in 1999.  He was awarded the Alice Davis Hitchcock book award in 2012.  He has served on numerous SAH Committees including the SAH Mellon Author Awards Jury, the de Montequin Fellowship committee, chaired the Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award Committee, and has served on the Board of the Society.   He has also served as a Session Chair at Annual conferences in 2014 and 2016, and as a speaker in 2015.  


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