BLDD is a clever acronym for Because Life Deserves Design which is also the foundation belief for their team. They have their offices in Chicago, Davenport and Central Illinois.

Different by design, process, and technique; you’ll find that their unique approach sets them aside from most firms. BLDD apart from being a clever acronym for Because Life Deserves Design, is also a foundation for belief followed by their team. BLDD has been a premier architecture and design firm with a group of passionate designers who believe that great design is a powerful tool that could impact the world, now more than ever. Being an outstanding player in the ground since 1929, BLDD architects have thrived and grown into a strong multidisciplinary team with offices in Chicago (IL), Davenport (IA), and Central Illinois (Decatur).
At BLDD, a client’s vision is turned into reality through a collaborative, innovative, and effective process that involves a unique trio of empowering, designing, and transforming. 

Here are 10 iconic projects that define the groundbreaking ideas and awesomeness simmering at BLDD:

1. Waltham School

Located in North Utica, Illinois, the district originally offered two separate schools for their small student population, which highly lacked 21st-century spaces. The new development by BLDD architects was a creative solution to eradicate this outdated system and make extensive updates. The design promotes highly collaborative learning spaces with a tighter and efficient footprint. The architect successfully captures the natural beauty of the location thereby blending the forest, river, and meadow with a student’s educational endeavor. Collaborative and flexible spaces placed adjacent to private learning spaces maximize collaboration across the different studios, thereby promoting project-based group learning. One of the coolest features of the school is the Outdoor learning space. This incorporates lawn lecture halls, portable sinks for lab experiments and not to forget, the massive chessboard, a little something (well, not so little) for those who can’t help but wander around.

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Waltham School ©www.bldd.com
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Waltham School ©www.bldd.com
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Waltham School ©www.bldd.com

2. Center for Theatre and Dance, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois

We learn by doing, they say! How about we learn in a space that promotes discipline, effort, practice, commitment, and lots of fun. The Center for Theatre and Dance essentially brings together students and professionals to interact together while making them feel like home. Architectural elements are transformed into spaces for everyday performances. With stairs flexible enough to convert into impromptu theatres, the railings offer standby ballet barres. Natural tones with abundant lighting reflect upon the artistic expression to provide a transparent foundation.

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Center for Theatre and Dance ©www.bldd.com
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Center for Theatre and Dance ©www.bldd.com
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Center for Theatre and Dance ©www.bldd.com

3. Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy

Being one of the top facilities in Illinois, the facility seeks to provide remarkable spaces for both educational and recreational areas. A LEED Silver certified building that facilitates 55,000 sq foot athletic building and 55,000 sq foot performing arts was a collaborative venture with brook architecture Inc. The athletic building features a 6 lane swimming pool, a gymnasium, and fitness rooms. On the contrary, the performing arts building incorporates a 500-seat auditorium, a music suite, and a library within its premises.

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Gwendolyn Brooks College ©www.bldd.com
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Gwendolyn Brooks College ©www.bldd.com
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Gwendolyn Brooks College ©www.bldd.com

4. Overlook Village Community

Burrowed in the hills, the facility overlooks the breathtaking views from the hills capturing the Mississippi River and the city’s everlasting charm. Incorporating 138 units in totality, the facility offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care. The Centre has a lot more to offer other than being home to its residents. The users can enjoy all the amenities ranging from a Fitness Centre to Recreation Area and Dining Rooms to Ice-cream Shops. This facility was also awarded the Design-Build Institute of America Mid-America Region (DBIA-MAR) Merit Award in the year 2018.

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Overlook Village Community ©www.bldd.com
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Overlook Village Community ©www.bldd.com
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Overlook Village Community ©www.bldd.com

5. Millstone Restaurant at Monarch Landing

Located in Naperville, Illinois the Millstone Restaurant was renovated from a formal old-fashioned dining space to a modern restaurant. The designer aimed to create a rather intimate experience while retaining some flexibility within the space for larger events. The new interior finishes gave a touch of coziness and a home-like vibe to the dining. The space was divided into three zones that were distinguished by the change in the floor material and tiling pattern, playfulness within the ceiling heights and separation screens.

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Millstone Restaurant ©www.bldd.com
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Millstone Restaurant ©www.bldd.com
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Millstone Restaurant ©www.bldd.com

6. Jacksonville Middle School

From chaos to order, a much-needed changeover for Jacksonville school property primarily focused on maximizing flexible and adaptive spaces and shifting the vehicular traffic for a clear entry space. The community common, being the central node, opens to the auditorium and can be disconnected from the academic wings when desired. Public access is provided to the brand new gymnasium and fitness center, thereby opening up community spaces within the campus.

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Jacksonville Middle School ©www.bldd.com
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Jacksonville Middle School ©www.bldd.com
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Jacksonville Middle School ©www.bldd.com

7. Calvary United Methodist

Calvary United Methodist began its construction as a two-phased project.
Phase one known to us today was split into two wings –east and north. In the East wing was placed the worship area, youth center, and a kitchen while on the contrary, the north wing incorporated offices, classrooms, and kid’s preschool. The two wings are connected by a central atrium space that is filled with natural light and brings discreet peacefulness into the space. Phases two, on the other hand, were stacked with children’s play area and coffee shop on the upper level and multipurpose space for gathering and classrooms on the lower level.

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Calvary United Methodist ©www.bldd.com
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 Calvary United Methodist ©www.bldd.com
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Calvary United Methodist ©www.bldd.com

8. Bethel Lutheran Church

The combination of church and school ministries to a single campus, the Bethel Lutheran Church was developed in Morton, Illinois. Three types of worship services were designed, they being a traditional hall with an organ, contemporary with a band, and a combination of two who enjoys a full orchestra of instruments. The wooden and stone detailing brings in the intricacy and delicacy while exposed steel trusses at high ceilings enhance the interior quality of the pace. The 25-foot long stonewall shimmering with natural light created a warm inviting space. An interesting contrast is created by the use of natural stone and brickwork on the exterior that compliments the red brick façade of the school

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Bethel Lutheran Church ©www.bldd.com
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Bethel Lutheran Church ©www.bldd.com
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 Bethel Lutheran Church ©www.bldd.com

9. Health Sciences Center

This facility is not just a place of well-being but a living manifesto of the college’s teaching notion. The new Health Sciences Center at Rock Valley College is a unique instructional space that seamlessly incorporates health industry degree and certificate programs for their students, allowing them to be tech-savvy with the appurtenances of technology around. Sophisticated spaces are designed in a way that allows students to observe and assist in the operating room environment. The waterfall featured in the lobby creates a soothing environment while the light does its magic by penetrating through the open staircase onto the water, lighting up the entire space with liveliness.

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Health Sciences Center ©www.bldd.com
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Health Sciences Center ©www.bldd.com
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Health Sciences Center ©www.bldd.com

10. Okaw Valley Agricultural Complex

The Okaw Valley agricultural facility being the only one in Illinois and one of the few in the United States has taken everyone by surprise. A booming program within itself, the various secondary programs needed to be stitched with the beauty of the location. Not just limiting its boundaries to the athletics and educational field, the facility offers a flexible design that aims at expanding its offering in the future including gardening, crop cultivation, and whatnot. With minimalistic, pocket-friendly, flexible lab spaces, and animal wards, this facility is the ultimate place for some hands-on learning experience. 

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Okaw Valley Agricultural Complex ©www.bldd.com
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Okaw Valley Agricultural Complex ©www.bldd.com
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Okaw Valley Agricultural Complex ©www.bldd.com
Muskaan Mardia
Author

An architecture graduate (well, almost!) from Dubai. With a passion for art and science, Muskaan appreciates the advancement of technology in the field of architecture. She believes that complex problem solving must be combined with critical thinking, meaningful discussions, creative mind and a dash of smile. Loves to travel, currently on her way to explore the world.

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