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.
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.
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.
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.
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.