Initial details have been revealed for a new welcome center in the DANK Haus building at 4740 N Western Avenue in Lincoln Square. Located on the corner of W Lawrence and N Western Avenues, DANK, whose name is the German acronym for German American National Congress, has occupied the building since 1967. With the goal to preserve German-American culture and businesses in the neighborhood, fundraising for the expansion will continue through to the year’s end.
The current five-story brick and decorative limestone building was completed in 1927 for the Three Links Association by the prolific German born Chicago-based architect Paul Gerhardt, whose work includes the Cook County Hospital and Lane Tech High School. It was purchased by DANK Haus to be used as a cultural center and German language learning center for over half a century.
Slowly growing to occupy most of the 77,000-square-foot building with the exception of the first floor, the organization has begun repairing the space and using it as a temporary gallery, however plans for it extend beyond. The new build-out is designed by DANK Haus board member and architect Michael Waechter and envision a clean, minimalistic space with white stone counters and light wood detailing.
The first phase of the storefront renovation includes a $54,000 new cafe, but a full remodel of the first floor will come in later phases. Upon completion the space, dubbed ‘Treffpunkt’ or meeting place, will include the cafe, a welcome desk, gift shop, art gallery, class space, and event spaces. Hoping to finish fundraising soon, an opening of spring 2022 has been set for the first phase, those wishing to donate can do so directly to DANK Haus.