2 East Erie

Sometimes it helps to have a good relationship with your neighbors! Graham, Anderson, Probst & White had been doing various architectural projects for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (aka Carpenters Union) for years. Given that the Carpenters’ headquarters were across the street from GAPW’s office, it’s not surprising. When the Carpenter’s Union decided to replace their existing, four-story building with a new mixed-use development, they insisted on GAPW as their architect.

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Located just two blocks from Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, the Carpenters Union’s property was prime for residential, retail and office development. Partnering with The John Buck Company, the Carpenter’s Union sought to improve their headquarters while capitalizing on their land’s value.

The resulting 40-story, mixed-use tower became know as 2 East Erie. With one of Chicago’s premier late-night bar & grills as its sole retail tenant, the rest of the base was composed of lobbies for the office and residential occupancies, as well as a meeting hall for the Carpenters Union.

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The base of the building was clad in warm brick and stone, seen here at the residential lobby entrance. A laminated glass canopy provides shelter while minimizing shadows.

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Inside the residential lobby, the exterior’s theme of tonal framework is expressed in rich oak panels.

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In the apartments, it’s all about corners. Floor to ceiling glass and column free corners combine to make apartments feel light and spacious. Unlike most apartment buildings, the compact layout of 2 East Erie allowed us to place the living areas on the corners. Even inboard units have projecting glass bays, giving the living space multi-directional views.

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This elevation drawing makes clear the building’s complex development. The base, composed in two parts, reflects the scale of adjacent neighborhood buildings. This articulation of scale masks the six-level parking garage and its sloping floors within. The next five floors of the tower house the Carpenter’s Union headquarters, and the remaining floors are dedicated to residential. The penthouse has apartment amenities, including a roof deck, workout room and party room.

My work on this project was done while I was an employee of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. I performed design, development and documentation, including full three-dimensional study of the tower’s interior and exterior. I also did all the residential floor plan layout, including unit mix studies and accessibility conformance.

Photographs in this post were created by Mark Ballogg of Steinkamp Ballogg Photography. I made the rendered drawings.

 

Millennium Park Plaza

The goal of this project was to revitalize the base of a mixed-use tower in the heart of Chicago. Originally built in the 1970’s, the tower base’s mix of sub-grade retail, office and residential lobbies and under-utilized outdoor plaza space were crying out for help. Our design sought to simplify the many floor levels of the existing retail space, with the goal of creating larger, more leasable spaces that opened directly to street level. Lobbies were enlarged and upgraded, and the exterior was given a fresh new image.

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The residential lobby was transformed into a glassy, light-filled hall. Rich, warm materials greet the residents as they return home, raising the profile of the building to match its premium, downtown location.

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The retail portion of the building faces Michigan Avenue. It combines large retails spaces, which have direct access to the street, with a mall. The mall acts as a hub, connecting small retail, office and residential lobbies and a new entrance to a nearby train station.

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As can be imagined, connecting all these spaces was quite complex. Working with existing conditions further challenged the design team to ensure that every bit of structure, ductwork and piping was accounted for.

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One of the greatest challenges was accounting for emergency exits, both existing exits of the office and residential portions of the tower above, and new exits required by the enlarged retail spaces.

This work was performed while I was employed at Solomon Cordwell Buenz. On this project, I performed the role of project architect; coordinating site exploration, engineering consultants and SCB’s design team to ensure that all the project’s features were safe and feasible, while maximizing space and minimizing construction cost.

The renderings featured in this post were created by SCB.

 

 

 

Santa Clara Hall

Santa Clara Hall is a student residence located on the lakefront campus of Loyola University in Chicago. I led a gut-rehab of this structure, transforming a 1920’s apartment building into a state of the art residence hall.

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The building was originally constructed as studio and one-bedroom apartments. Its  location is unique – it is directly on Lake Michigan, with Loyola to the south and a beach to the north. However desirable this may seem, the building was in run-down condition and did not conform to today’s standards for student residences.  Everything inside the building, aside from the structure, was removed. New two-bedroom units were planned, and new elevator and egress stairs were threaded through the existing structure.

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While the units are minimally sized, they provide ADA accessible kitchens and bathrooms, and flexible shared living spaces. One of the big challenges of fitting this tight layout into the 1920’s shell is that the structure was very irregular, and varied from floor to floor. Fortunately, Loyola hired a great general contractor with whom I worked closely to adapt the layouts, especially in the bathrooms, as the existing conditions emerged through demolition.

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The ground floor presented another challenge. In the original structure, it was treated as a service floor that had low ceilings. Loyola wanted to use this floor as public space for the residence, with lobby, lounge, conference and laundry room functions.

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The ceiling height was maintained by carefully coordinating the existing structure with new mechanical, electrical and fire protection elements during design and in construction.

Santa Clara Hall opened on time and on budget, and has since become very popular with the students.

This project was completed while I was an employee at Solomon Cordwell Buenz. I managed design development and construction documents, and performed construction administration services.

Bill Zbaren created the interior photographs, and I made the exterior picture. The rendered floor plan was made by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

Office for an Investment Company

This workspace is located on the top three floors of a Chicago office tower. All three floors are linked with a three story atrium, a unique feature with a powerful impact on the office.

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As originally constructed, the atrium was designed to have an open stair connecting the floors. But this stair was never built. My clients wanted a stair to enhance the communication of its employees, and it became a major element of this buildout.

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The atrium as found had wide open balconies on all three levels. While my client loved the openness, they needed the space for program areas. I designed a wall system, based on aluminum framed storefront parts, that provided glass and wood veneer panels as suggested by view and privacy requirements.

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The new atrium stair was located adjacent to new conference rooms that were fully glazed to facilitate communication among company members. It’s become a great place to bump into people – a true communicating stair. Glass stair risers were specified to maintain the stair’s transparency.

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The investment company has offices in both the US and the UK. When laying out the work spaces, there was a clash of culture: Americans value privacy, and the Brits need openness and collaboration. In the end, the plan compromises with four-person pods that may be open or enclosed based on the needs of the department.

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This company has a strong appreciation of wood and custom craftsmanship. The reception desk was made veneered in a highly figured maple, with solid planks of the same material at the transaction counter. I also designed custom conference tables of this wood for all the conference rooms.

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In addition to the custom furniture, I also designed custom lighting for the circulation areas. These fixtures consisted of a laminated glass plane suspended 3″ below the ceiling to create a luminous plane.

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This project was completed while I was an employee at Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, Corp. I was the project designer and manager, and performed complete project services, including site, contractor, and bid evaluation; programming; schematic design; design development; construction documents and construction administration.

Mark Ballogg create all of the photographs with the exception of the light fixture above, which is a photograph by me.