Search results for "Goettsch Partners"
Raising the Bar
Goettsch Partners provides a refreshing jolt to the Chicago suburbs with Zurich Insurance Group’s North American HQ
Chicago’s north suburbs are exactly as one might expect: sprawling malls, endless subdivisions, business parks, and miles of highways. In short, it’s not where one would expect to find notable architecture. Yet just across the highway from an imposing blue Ikea stands a new corporate headquarters unlike the surrounding tedium. The new Goettsch Partners–designed 784,000-square-foot Zurich Insurance Group North American headquarters is a formally ambitious exercise in large-office design.
For most, the Zurich headquarters will be experienced from a speeding car racing by on Interstate-90, which passes just west of the site. Others may have the pleasure of seeing it while stuck in gridlock traffic on that same stretch. In either case, the design team at Goettsch Partners was thinking about the project’s presentation to the car-bound masses. The form of the building is clear, even at high speeds. A massive bridging bar straddles two other large glassy bars. In many ways the project is reminiscent of what is often considered a Dutch style of diagram-driven design, rarely seen in Chicago. It was only a matter of time before one of Chicago’s larger offices would bring the technique to a major local project. The project’s bridging super-truss also brings to mind the work of offices like OMA and MVRDV, which have used the inhabitable structural system to great effect for decades. Yet the simple formal move is in some ways very Chicago—it recalls the modernist monoliths of Downtown. The project’s glossy curtain wall gives the project that blue glassy sheen so prevalent in many of the towers currently rising in the city. The company’s name is also carefully integrated into the facade in large letters, another aspect that seems to be a conversation surrounding so many Chicago projects, old and new.
Employees and visitors drive through a lush landscape designed by Chicago-based Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, complete with walking and biking trails, water features, and rolling native savannas. Included in the landscape is a memorial to four employees lost in the September 11th terrorist attacks, and at its center is a large tree that was moved from the company’s former headquarters a mile away. Other more specifically landscaped areas include a sunken hardscape close to the building, where waterfalls seclude the area from the nearby traffic. A small pavilion in a Tuileries-inspired treescape gives employees another space to get out of the building for formal and informal events. What is missing from much of the landscape is an element that usually defines similar large corporate campuses: surface parking. Though there are a handful of spots near the building’s entrance, most of the parking is consolidated into a multilevel parking garage whose form echoes the building—two bars clad in screening conceal the employee parking.
The building’s entry sequence starts in this parking structure, with the understanding that it would be the main entry for the vast majority of workers. Leading from the parking into the building, a long, wide, bright corridor provides protection from the intense winter winds and snow. Working closely with Goettsch Partners, local office Cannon Design handled the interiors. Typifying a restrained palette, the interior feels appropriate for a major corporate office-scape, with a few twists.
Rather than completely relying on the latest trade journal theories about office culture or attempting to tap into popular, but possibly fleeting, trends, the design was based on extensive research done directly with Zurich employees. Zurich, a major insurance company, was intent on providing a productive yet comfortable space for the 3,000 employees who would be working in the building. In a series of fully functional workspaces, dozens of employees rotated through different layouts and work environments, spending weeks in each. The feedback from this study was integrated into the overall concepts behind the interior. A main finding was that workers wanted to have a variety of choices when it came to their individual workspaces. Every desk is sit-stand and other spaces throughout the building are set up to become impromptu work areas. Cafes, quiet alcoves, and larger common areas are all equipped with furniture and power to allow for work to happen away from the typical workspace. Desks are grouped into smaller “neighborhoods”of around 30 desks in separate areas, rather than an endless expanse of cubicles.
The bars that make up the building are only about 100 feet wide, and many areas include double height spaces, so access to natural light is never far away. Solar gain from all of that glass is mitigated by a discrete louver system on the exterior and operable shading on the interior. For the building’s largest space, a common area for large gatherings, a 300-foot-long double-skin glass wall was engineered by Thorton Thomasetti to passively vent warm air out of the building before overheating the interior. These natural lighting systems play an important role in helping the project achieve a LEED Platinum certification, making it one of the largest buildings in the world to achieve this designation. Water and energy reduction technologies were also integrated into the design. The landscape design contributes with over 635 trees being planted across nearly 30 acres of softscape.
The orientation of the top bar of the building is made strikingly clear when standing on the downtown-facing balcony on the top floor. This balcony, well above the suburban landscape before it, makes for a perfect summation of the project as a whole. While maintaining the openness allowed by its position out of the city, it still aspires to the quality and formal ambitions of those towers on the horizon. While the project would fit in well in the outskirts of a city like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, where similar formally experimental buildings are becoming commonplace, in the Chicago suburbs it is honestly a bit shocking—in a good way.
IN DETAIL> The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts
Goettsch Partners carefully sound designs Northwestern University’s new music school
One might not think to travel to Evanston to get a view of the Chicago skyline, but thanks to a new Goettsch Partners–designed Northwestern University campus building, that has changed. The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, home of Northwestern’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, takes a transparent approach to the normally opaque music-school building typology. The result is a project that connects the far north side of campus all the way to downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.
The five-story, 152,000-square-foot glass form sits in stark contrast to the campus’s 1977 Walter Netsch–designed Regenstein Hall of Music. The older and much smaller Brutalist structure was the campus’s main music building. Instead of discarding the Regenstein, Goettsch worked to wrap the building and provide interior connections on all levels to incorporate the two projects into one greater whole. For the first time, to the delight of the school, the entire music department, all 650 students, can be housed under one roof.
Nearly every space in the new building sits behind glass-curtain walls looking out over the water. This includes the classrooms, practice rooms, and even the main 400-seat recital hall. To achieve this, great care—and some inventive sound and material engineering—was needed to ensure the acoustically reflective glass would not compromise sound quality.
In the case of the practice rooms, the goal was to isolate each room from its neighbor. To do this, walls, floors, and ceilings received fairly typical sound-insulating techniques, including use of extra drywall and sealed doors. The trick was to stop sound from leaking from room to room along the curtain wall. To do this, custom-designed transoms between panes were engineered to acoustically isolate each room. The result is spaces in which students can practice without the distraction of the tuba next door but with the advantage of full daylight and uninterrupted views of the lake stretching out below them. Though the practice rooms were given special attention, it is in the main recital hall where the project was able to really flex its acoustic-engineering muscle.
The 400-seat Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall is an intimate wood-lined space with one thing that few performance spaces can boast: a stunning view. Thanks to a 40-by-42-foot low-iron curtain wall behind the stage, concertgoers are treated to a vista of the Chicago skyline 13 miles to the south. Even more so than in the practice rooms, sound quality was absolutely paramount in the design of the space. In collaboration with Kirkegaard Associates sound engineers, the window wall was designed as a novel double layer of glass calibrated to control sound quality. The outer layer is a more typical curtain wall, while the inner layer is slightly canted to avoid the audience hearing any sound echoing off of the glass. The air space between the layers acts as an insulating buffer to keep the exterior noise of the occasional speed boat or Coast Guard helicopter from ruining a concert. This space also allows for an operable fabric blackout sunshade to transform the layout and mediate solar gain, as the room is south facing. The undulating wood walls are designed to work with the canted glass wall to absorb even more errant sounds, and acoustic banners can be lowered from the ceiling to “tune” the space for each individual concert.
The performance spaces were not the only ones to benefit from the project’s transparency. The main entry leads into a bright three-story glass atrium that passes completely through the building, from campus to the lakefront. Every classroom and office also has access to daylight. Even the 150-seat black-box opera theater, typically a space that would be devoid of daylight, has a full glass wall, which can be blacked out when needed.
Goettsch worked with renowned New York–based environmental design consultant Atelier Ten to achieve LEED Gold certification for the project. Along with working as sound insulation, the double-skin glass technology used throughout the building has a positive effect on energy efficiency. Additionally, the building incorporates a gray-water system, a design intention sensitive to the building’s location on the lake.
Ultimately, through sometimes unconventional means, the Ryan Center changes the way in which we expect music schools to look and perform. Not bound by small punch windows, practice rooms don’t have to be dark, uninviting spaces, while recitals can be set against the drama of an ever-active lake and a towering skyline. Resources: Curtain Wall Benson Industries, Inc.Skylight System Super Sky Products Enterprises
Limestone Wall Eclad Stone Cladding System, Illinois Masonry Corp
Recital Hall Woodwork Imperial Woodworking Company
Choral and Opera Woodwork Glenn Rieder, Inc.
Stone Flooring SIMI
Designed and zoned to be the tallest building in the new central business district of Tianjin, this new mixed-use tower includes 91 stories of office, retail, hotel, and condominiums, capped with a seven-story crown to conceal the mechanical systems. Chicago-based Goettsch Partners have designed the tower with a series of vertical perforated metal bands between the windows, allowing natural ventilation into the building without interrupting the facades with visible openings. Though the project was conceived more than two years ago, like countless others, it was hit financing problems. With some tweaking of the programming ratios, however, it is now moving ahead. “The building is a marriage between structure and program,” said Paul De Santis, an associate principal at Goettsch. The tower is arranged around a six-cell core, which steps back to two cells at the top of the building as it gets thinner. At ground level, the offices will be served by a major entrance on the building’s north side facing a pedestrian plaza, while the hotel and condominiums will be served by the south entrance. Several of the condominiums at the top of the building are a full floor, which De Santis expects will command “Beijing or Hong Kong prices.”
Architect: Goettsch Partners
Client: Guangzhou R&F Properties
Location: Tianjin, China
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This Ain't Your Parent's CAF
The new Chicago Architecture Center offers informative, tangible experiences
2017 Best of Design Awards for Office & Retail
Albina Yard is the first building in the United States made from domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT). This new 16,000-square-foot speculative office building utilizes mass timber construction, with a glue-laminated timber frame and CLT panels manufactured and prefabricated in Riddle, Oregon. The project’s primary goal was to utilize domestic CLT in a market-rate office building that would pave the way for broader adoption of renewable mass timber construction technologies in Oregon and the United States. The design approach reflects a commitment to this sustainable technology by developing an architecture focused on economy and simplicity, material expression, and the careful resolution and integration of all building systems to foreground the beauty of the exposed Douglas fir structural frame.“As a structural strategy, mass timber is very similar to a cast-in-place concrete structure in terms of layout and function of its individual elements. The main difference is the character and humaneness of the remaining spaces. It is very well-suited for this type of use.” —Nathaniel Stanton, principal, Craft Engineer Studio (juror) General Contractor: Reworks Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers CLT Supplier: DR Johnson Lumber CNC Routing: Cut My Timber Honorable Mention Project: Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters Architect: Deborah Berke Partners Location: Indianapolis, Indiana This new office building reinforces an active pedestrian experience that is connected to downtown Indianapolis and its parkland. The unusually slender floorplan and high ceilings provide abundant natural daylight for every space and minimize reliance on electricity. A high-performance “calibrated” facade and an integrated system of fins and shades limit heat gain and increase thermal comfort. Honorable Mention Project: Zurich North America Headquarters Architect: Goettsch Partners Location: Schaumburg, Illinois Located on a 40-acre expressway site in suburban Chicago, the North American headquarters of the Swiss Zurich Insurance Group reflects the company’s global reach and commitment to sustainability. Composed of three primary “bars” that are offset and stacked, the arrangement creates unique spaces for collaboration, opens views of the surrounding landscape, optimizes solar orientation for amenities, and provides programmatic flexibility.