Davenport House in Oak Park, Illinois. Right image courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Davenport House



Built in 1901 and designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the two-story Davenport House is considered the Chicago area’s first example of Prairie Style architecture. To restore this historical house to its original condition, Thornton Tomasetti completed a structural evaluation and provided repair recommendations and design.

To repair the sagging floor joists at the second floor, Thornton Tomasetti designed and implemented a jacking procedure to gradually raise the floor in small, ¼-inch increments every five days over a several week period. The procedure required the removal and replacement of the first floor plaster ceiling and faux beams and the diagonal bracing between the existing joints.

In addition to the joist jacking, Thornton Tomasetti designed the installation of new joists to reinforce the existing ones. Installing the new joists proved a challenge as the jacking system did not allow enough space for their addition. Therefore, the new joists were installed and temporarily secured prior to the jacking procedure and permanently installed after the floor was leveled.

Thornton Tomasetti also restored the lower cantilevered roof eaves to their original configuration, reinforced the roof framing to support a new hanging furnace and analyzed the second-story framing to ensure support for a new cast iron bathtub.

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