The Unique History of the Vavrek Office Building

Vavrek Architects lobby
Vavrek Architects Office Lobby

In 2008, Thomas Vavrek purchased the historic hotel building at 1522 East 119th Street which was constructed in 1898 and served as a temporary residence for day laborers of the nearby Standard Oil refinery, now owned by BP. Vavrek’s vision was to turn the building into modern commercial office space, while preserving many of its original architectural characteristics that were almost completely covered up or replaced by previous renovation work.

Vavrek Building 2008
Vavrek Building Pre-Renovations 2008

The restoration of the building required extensive renovations to both the exterior and interior. With the addition of a landscaped municipal parking lot adjacent to the building, facade improvements included the creation of two new storefronts along the east side, each utilizing a different type of brick to distinguish each section. As seen in the historic photo, hidden beneath the mansard roof on the front of the building were the original onion domes capping the semi-hexagonal bay windows. A 2nd floor apartment was transformed into a contemporary office space for Vavrek Architects. The updated 1st floor has two open and light-filled office suites.

Historic photo
Historic Photo of Building


Onion domes
Onion Domes Revealed During Renovation

This project reflects Vavrek’s passion for urban renewal and revitalization of communities. Vavrek has since become involved in assisting with the aesthetic and technical standards for the redevelopment of the City of Whiting’s main street business district.

Vavrek building after renovations
Vavrek Building Today