Landmark Apartment Restoration

Located in Mies van der Rohe’s landmark steel and glass apartment towers at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, this apartment was in need of updating and backdating at the same time. My design for its renovation was guided by the building itself; to honor its groundbreaking architecture.

04-860 16L living Simple, unstained wide-plank maple floors were installed in the public spaces, echoing the light travertine pavers that cover the plaza below.

03-860 16L plan

The apartment layout was returned to original condition, with non-original closets and column enclosures removed.

06-860 16L kitchen

The kitchen was completely gutted. Bulthaup cabinets & stainless steel counters were used to evoke the building’s original Metalcraft cabinets. Satin-finished glass tile backsplashes recall the ground floor’s recessed curtainwall. Honed basalt floor pavers, heated by the building’s radiant floor system, create a comfortable, durable foundation.

07-860 16L kit drawer

The highly customizable Bulthaup cabinets were exploited to maximum effect. All base cabinets utilized deep drawer storage, making this a very space efficient kitchen.

09-860 16L master bath

The modest bathrooms were given a finish upgrade, with glass tile, Duravit fixtures and Hansgrohe faucets. Custom stainless steel trim wraps the shower entrance.

This project was an independent commission. I performed all design, development, documentation and presentation. I administered construction, and created all the photos and drawings in this post.

For more information about the building, please have a look at its website:

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.