Posts tagged with "Chicago":

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Related unveils plan for truncated towers at Chicago Spire site

One of Chicago’s most notorious—and notoriously well-located—construction pits may soon at long-last be the site of renewed activity as plans to build two lanky, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)-designed residential towers at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive attempt, once again, to move forward in the approval process. As the Chicago Tribune reports, there’s been some substantial tweaks to the design at the Related Midwest-developed site. The towers, which will have a combined 1,1000 residential units, have both been scaled back in height, one reduced from 1,100 feet to 875 feet and the other from 850 feet to 765 feet. A hotel planned for the taller of the two towers has also been axed due to traffic and security concerns, among other changes to the towers’ design. The much-anticipated development of what never materialized beyond a large, gaping circular hole on a primo parcel of land on the Chicago River waterfront has been a hot topic in the Chicago real estate world for more than a decade. The coveted Streeterville site was originally slated to be graced with Santiago Calatrava’s 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire condominium tower, a project that was halted after 30 percent of its units were sold and a 76-foot-deep foundation was dug during the 2008 economic crisis. Calatrava’s curvy, cloud-brushing tower would have been the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at the time, if it had ever been realized. “When the design was first shown in 2005, I wrote it could be the city’s first metrosexual skyscraper, although I predicted it would never get built,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times business reporter David Roeder of Calatrava's design. “Yeah, I was right, but true foresight would have had me not covering real estate and instead shorting everything in the market ahead of the crash of 2008.” Related Midwest took control of the site in 2014 and revealed its initial plans—designed by SOM’s David Childs—for the twin residential high-rises in 2018. The plan, however, was later rejected by 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly, who echoed numerous concerns voiced by local residents and business owners including the project’s height. Related, in turn, was forced to go back to the drawing board. In 2019, the developer received an extension to commence construction on the delayed project without having to revisit the zoning approval process according to the Tribune. It’s now back in the hands of Reilly to give his blessing to the shorter, altered version of SOM’s original design before the project can progress and go before the City Council for approval, then eventually kick-off construction. Reilly has scheduled a public meeting to review Related’s revamped plans for the site.
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Helmut Jahn pitches proposal to save Chicago’s Thompson Center

It’s not every day that the architect of a 35-year-old governmental office building makes a personal plea to save their own work. But Chicago’s exuberantly postmodern James R. Thompson Center, which the State of Illinois state is attempting to sell off with considerable public push-back, is a special case. And Helmut Jahn won’t allow his creation to meet the wrecking ball without a fight, or, at the very least, a detailed plan on how to best reuse it. Dubbed the “postmodern people’s palace," the Thompson Center opened in 1985 on Chicago’s Loop as the State of Illinois Center. The building was renamed in 1993 in honor of former governor James R. Thompson, who commissioned it. Like other postmodern governmental buildings of the era such as Michael Graves’s Portland Building, the 17-floor office complex—a “slice of a hollow sphere, clad in curved blue glass and salmon-colored steel” per the Chicago Center for Architecture, with an intensely photogenic central atrium to boot—is the type of building that critics and the public love and love to hate. In a major American city with countless iconic buildings spanning different eras, the Thompson Center still, for better or worse, sticks out. As reported by the Chicago Sun Times, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is intent on selling the Thompson Center and the full-block parcel that the building sits on as part of a three-year quest to find a buyer. Moving state offices out of the building could save an estimated $17 million annually while avoiding deferred maintenance costs totaling roughly $320 million. The administration of Pritzker’s predecessor, Governor Bruce Rauner, estimated that the Thompson Center could fetch as much as $200 million, but less if a potential buyer was blocked from razing the building and developing something new in its place. Jahn, however, has a different idea: Keep the building as is, with some significant alterations that don’t detract from the center’s populist character, and readapt it to accommodate new offices, a hotel, and even co-living apartments. Most dramatically, Jahn’s 10-page reuse plan, “Thompson Center: Inside Out,” calls for removing the building’s front doors and transforming the atrium into a sheltered outdoor space. He refers to the refreshed, repurposed building as “something new with a space that doesn’t belong to the state of Illinois but to the people of Chicago.” Jahn elaborated in his proposal:
“I propose the doors come down, so the atrium becomes a public place with upgraded retail and restaurants. The lower floors, with up to 60,000 square feet, flexible tech-offices. Above, a hotel and co-living apartments with terraces facing the atrium. These terraces and those along the curved south side are greened with trees and climbing vines, which will grow well in this protected in-outside environment. The façade and the environmental systems will be tuned to work together and use the sun as an energy source.”
In addition to detailing his vision for a reimagined Thompson Center, Jahn warns of the negative impact that could stem from demolishing the building and redeveloping the site. “What we got for 175 million dollars in 1984 can become the heart in the now degrading central loop,” he wrote. “A demolition and replacement would not only take a long time but seeks high density without considering public benefits. We need not more bigger buildings but buildings which improve the public space.” Jahn added that:
“Governor Pritzker has the opportunity, after years of neglect by his predecessors, to lead thru the sale of the Thompson Center by giving it new life. Repurposing the building the right way could go beyond what the building ever was, making it better, more public and a place where you want to work, stay overnight, live or just visit and feel good. Miracles and dreams can become real.”
As for Governor Pritzker, it would appear that his administration cannot be so easily swayed by the miracles and dreams of a visionary German-born, Chicago-based architect. “The governor is committed to selling the Thompson Center to provide the best value to taxpayers,” Pritzker’s office told the Sun Times in a statement. “For the state’s purposes, the facility is larger than necessary, and the Department of Central Management Services is working expeditiously to identify a developer by the end of the year.” The Thompson Center’s endangered status isn’t new. Proposals to sell the building have been kicking around since the administration of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, who held office from 2003 to 2009 before he was impeached, convicted, and removed on corruption charges (and then pardoned). Preservationists have long rallied to save the idiosyncratic building, which is currently home to the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Court of Claims, and other state entities. Most recently, it appeared (once again) on Chicago Preservation's annual "Chicago 7" Most Endangered Buildings List.
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Related reveals first phase of Chicago’s massive The 78 development

Related Midwest, the Chicago-based arm of New York real estate development firm Related Companies, has revealed concrete design details for the first phase of its The 78 project, a 62-acre “vibrant, mixed-use community” (according to the developer) that’s poised to transform a long-vacant riverside parcel along Chicago’s South Loop. A Related megadevelopment through and through, it’s tempting to compare this $7 billion built-from-scratch neighborhood—master-planned by Chicago’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill—as the Windy City’s answer to the shiny, supertall-stuffed Hudson Yards enclave that opened last year on the far western fringes of Manhattan. And there are myriad similarities, minus any climbable sculptures for now, anyway. Yet whereas at the heart of the critically walloped Hudson Yards was a luxury shopping mall and a Björk-christened arts center, the focal point of The 78, in its first phase at least, will be focused on research and innovation in the form of a world-class new home for the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), which is part of the Illinois Innovation Network. In a press statement, Related Midwest credited DPI for helping to “set the stage for The 78’s future as a global technology and innovation hub.” Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest, described the project as such:
“Our vision for The 78 is to create Chicago’s next great neighborhood. With a dynamic Phase 1 plan that includes DPI as its centerpiece, we’re showing how a 21st-century neighborhood, created from the ground-up and connected to so many exceptional areas, will bring new opportunities to all of Chicago. DPI’s organizational model will drive long-term innovation across critical growth industries and draw corporate tenants, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists— from across Chicago and around the globe  to The 78, where they will find top talent, groundbreaking research and new technologies that support future expansion.”
Joining the 50,000 square-foot DPI campus in Phase 1 will be 1.5 million square feet of office space spread across a mix of high-rise and “loft-style” buildings; 700,000 square feet of residential space, with 20 percent of that earmarked for affordable housing, and 100,000 square feet dedicated to eateries, shops, hotels, and fitness locations. Phase 1 also marks the beginnings of what will eventually amount to 12 acres of publicly-accessible green space woven throughout The 78. This includes 5 acres of Crescent Park, a curvy 7-acre urban refuge/outdoor recreation hotspot following the natural path of the Chicago River. Various infrastructural tweaks are set to begin within the next year as part of Phase 1. They include appending and renovating streets, as well as reconstruction of the Chicago River Seawall. Work is already underway on the Wells-Wentworth Connector, a pedestrian-centric main street of sorts with protected bike lanes that will link The 78 with adjacent neighborhoods. Envisioned as a southward extension of Chicago’s central business district, The 78}s name is a reference to the development’s future status as the newest community to join Chicago’s 77 established neighborhoods. As for the DPI's new home, the “state-of-the-art immersion facility” will be nestled on land donated by Related Midwest along the Chicago River between Crescent Park and bustling Wells Street on the Loop’s northern edge. STL Architects, the Chicago-based firm behind the DPI complex's initial conceptual renderings, noted that the building’s “distinct” design was directly inspired by its park-flanked riverfront location. Sporting a central atrium that will act as an indoor public square, the building is intended to foster social interaction between students, and the facility is expected to attract 2,000 of them annually from the U.S. and abroad. Per Related Midwest, academic activities at DPI will initially zero in on “applying the Illinois economy’s existing strengths in data analytics and computing to drive innovation in food and agriculture; environment and water; health and wellness; transportation and logistics; and finance and insurance.” In addition to creating 9,000 permanent jobs, Phase 1 of The 78 is expected to generate over 9,500 construction, trade, and professional services jobs. It’s slated for completion in 2024.
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Chicago’s Aon Center approved for an observation deck and 1,100-foot exterior elevator

When it was first completed in 1973, the Aon Center was the tallest building in Chicago and the fourth tallest in the world. Though its stardom was soon dashed by the completion of the nearby Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) later that year, the Edward Durell Stone-designed building continues to maintain a significant presence in the city’s skyline. In light of its proximity to Millennium Park and other tourist attractions in Downtown Chicago, city officials considered adding an exterior elevator and observation deck to the 1,136-foot-tall Aon Center in May 2018 that swiftly gained approval, as AN has previously reported. Two years later, Aon Center general manager Matthew Amato has confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that a $185 million budget is being secured towards the construction of the tower’s additions by the end of this year, and that the project is expected to be completed by Spring 2022. 601W Companies, a developer and owner of Aon Center, will team with Legends, the New York-based firm responsible for One World Trade Observatory in Manhattan, to develop and later co-own the project. The two settled on a set of designs from Solomon Cordwell Buenz that will only minimally interfere with the sleek, minimal details of the late-modernist tower. Visitors will be able to access the observatory deck by first entering a new 9,000-square-foot pavilion to be built on the ground floor, followed by a south-facing glass elevator that will provide largely unobstructed views of the city. The observation deck will replace the mechanical services space on its 82nd floor and will include two floors of amenities, including an event space, restaurant, bar, and the Sky Summit, a thrill ride that will take visitors over the building’s edge in a glass-enclosed tube for up to 40 seconds. 601W Companies estimates that the deck's various amenities could generate up to $40 million in annual revenue—far more than could be received from treating the top two floors as rentable office space. The observation deck, yet to be named, will become the third in the city (including 360 Chicago at the Hancock Center and the Skydeck at Willis Tower). The additions reflect the second major alteration to the building since 1973; the first was in 1992 to replace the Italian Carrara marble facade with Mount Airy white granite at an estimated cost of $80 million.
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United States Artists awards MOS and Sara Zewde with $50K grants

Chicago non-profit United States Artists (USA) has announced its 2020 fellowship class, a group of 50 creatives across the country and various disciplines who will be awarded $50,000 in unrestricted grants towards supporting their lives and individual work. New York-based MOS Architects and landscape designer and urban artist Sara Zewde were selected as this year’s sole architecture honorees.  “It is a critically important time to support the livelihoods of artists and we are ecstatic to be able to honor 50 of them this year,” said USA President and CEO Deana Haggag. “The 2020 class is the largest cohort of Fellows we have awarded since we relocated to Chicago, and each and every one of them stands out as a visionary influence in their respective field.”  Born in Los Angeles in 2006, USA was established soon after the National Endowment for the Arts decided to cut ties with its personal grant awards program. Now backed by larger endowment groups like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, among others, USA has continued to grow its annual fellowship program, often awarding two or three design teams among the honorees. Recent winners in the field include Erin and Ian Besler of Besler & Sons, Keller Easterling, and Lucia Cuba in 2019, as well as Amanda Williams and Norman Kelley in 2018.  Founded by principals Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample in 2005, MOS works out of Harlem, New York, on numerous projects ranging from schools, apartments, exhibition design, furniture, books, and more. Most recently, MOS completed a nine-acre Housing Laboratory in Mexico meant to help the National Works’ Housing Fund Institute (Infonavit) explore new low-cost housing typologies. In 2018, AN named the firm one of the top 50 interior architects in the country.  Zewde is the founding principal of Studio Zewde based in Harlem, New York. A trained landscape architect from Harvard GSAPP, Zewde also holds a master’s in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She integrates artistry and activism into her work, as seen in her graphic urban park planned for the Africatown Community Land Trust in Seattle or her masterplan for Plan Road, a historic street in East Baton Rouge that’s about to undergo major changes as the site of Louisiana’s first-ever Bus Rapid Transit system. In 2018, Zewde was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's inaugural “40 Under 40: People Saving Places” list. Find the full list of USA's 2020 fellows here.
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Chicago's Lakeview Low-Line makes infrastructure pop

Location: Chicago Design consultants: PORT Urbanism Decorative stone: Lake Street Supply Crushed granite pathway: Kafka Granite Planters: Planterworx Custom cubbies: Landscape Forms Light boxes: Landscape Forms Fixtures and fittings: Studio 431

PORT Urbanism designed Chicago’s Lakeview Low-Line to be a community art space. When the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce drafted its master plan in 2012, among its top priorities was developing the underutilized right-of-way and Chicago Transit Authority maintenance path along the city’s “L” tracks between the Southport and Paulina stations on the Brown Line. Working with the manufacturer Landscape Forms’ Studio 431, PORT created a series of bright yellow rectangular boxes, or “cubbies,” as a new take on public furnishing.

The carved-out forms of the Low-Line’s cubbies take cues from the interiors of the “L” train cars and the shape of the tracks overhead. The transit system had more than just an aesthetic influence; the cubbies needed to be movable for track repair and the possibility of excavation to rebuild the train structure’s column footings. The custom furniture rethinks durability, access, and comfort while accommodating a range of programs.

The Low-Line was designed to create a lively place for commuters, residents, and tourists to enjoy public art. It includes a picnic table, a vendor booth-cum-bar, and two cantilevered cubbies that frame the entry made of powder-coated steel exteriors and slatted ipe wood interiors. Power is integrated into the cubbies for controlled access by vendors and musicians. Studio 431 also manufactured easily replaceable panels and tamper-resistant fasteners to account for wear and tear. The first phase of the half-mile-long art walk and garden opened to the public in 2018 as a celebration of the neighborhood’s culture and is part of a larger project that aims to encourage use of the L and other mass transit lines as a sustainable alternative to driving.

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Studio Gang's Gia Biagi appointed as Chicago's new transportation chief

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has appointed Gia Biagi, an urban planner, civil servant, and principal of Studio Gang, to head up the city’s transportation department (CDOT). The decision comes seven months after the previous commissioner resigned ahead of Lightfoot’s inauguration in May.  Before joining Studio Gang in 2015 as the firm’s leader of urbanism and civic impact, Biagi served with the Chicago Park District from 2003 to 2015. During her last two years there, she served as the chief of staff. Biagi has also worked as a policy associate under former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daly after finishing her master’s in urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago “Gia’s expertise and years of on-the-ground experience make her the ideal choice to lead our ambitious agenda for CDOT through the coming decade,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a statement. “As we move ahead, I look forward to working side-by-side with Gia and the entire team at CDOT as we implement our vision for equitable, comprehensive urban planning, and transportation that supports every one of our residents, neighborhoods, and businesses, and helps our entire city thrive.”  According to the mayor’s office, Biagi will focus on improving traffic issues in downtown Chicago and tie in CDOT’s projects with other critical infrastructure projects such as affordable housing and the mayor’s INVEST South/West Initiative. It’s also likely that Biagi will be working with her former team at Studio Gang on the transit situation surrounding the O’Hare airport expansion “I am proud that Gia has answered the call to return to public service,” said Jeanne Gang, founding principal of Studio Gang, in a statement. “It is always rewarding to see the members of our team harness the skills they have cultivated in the studio to effect positive change in the world. Gia has been a critical partner in maturing the Studio’s unique approach to our urban scale work that emphasizes mutuality and equity. She remains part of the Studio Gang family, and I am confident that she will accomplish great things for our City.” Biagi’s nomination as CDOT commissioner may be confirmed by the City Council in a vote as early as next month. 
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World's largest Starbucks opens on downtown Chicago's Magnificent Mile

Nothing screams excess like a five-story Starbucks. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that it’s poorly designed. Today marks the grand opening of the Seattle-based coffee giant's largest flagship store in the world. Located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the 35,000-square-foot facility fills every inch of a former Crate & Barrel store originally built in 1990.  Designed by an in-house team with added help from Perkins & Will, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago takes cues from the original architecture of the largely-all-glass-and-stone department store. It boasts plenty of natural light within the five-story interior thanks to the building’s existing rotunda and floor-to-ceiling windows. The characteristic materials of a Starbucks project are all there too: Jet black metal cladding cover the walls, both light and dark wooden accents populate the bars and ceilings, while the classic bronze finish found in other Reserve projects clad the railings and machinery. One new touch that defines the Chicago flagship is the ample use of soft green throughout the space, especially notable on the perforated wood panels that line the ceiling. At the center of the space, spanning all five floors, is a towering coffee bean cask made of eight cylindrical chambers. It stretches 56 feet-tall from the ground-floor upward and is surrounded by a spiraling escalator that guests can take to the second floor. From the very top, to see conveyors drop roasted coffee beans in the cask to cool. It’s a curvy interior and it deftly matches Crate & Barrel’s curvy aesthetic. The exterior of the building has been virtually untouched and the Starbucks stamp is minimal. Despite the intervention, the structure still looks like it belongs in downtown Chicago. Among the five other Reserve projects built around the world since 2014, this retrofit has already received early praise for its adherence to the integrity of the city and space in which it exists. Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin loved the shop upon touring it and described the architectural appeal of the new "cathedral of coffee" in his review this week:  “It’s visually theatrical, crisply designed and carefully tailored to its host city even though it springs from a well-worn corporate template,” wrote Kamin. “The flagship reminds us that modern architecture celebrates the process of making things, unlike beaux-arts buildings that hide such things behind pretty facades.”  That must be the general allure of the Starbucks Reserve brand: The company has broken out these shops not as "everyday" places to grab a coffee but more as tourist-oriented theme parks or experience centers complete with merchandise and $15-to-$20 coffees But this will also be the company's last chance to impress this way. Starbucks has announced the Chicago space will be the final Reserve flagship in its portfolio. 
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Vladimir Radutny's Michigan Loft tempers Chicago's gritty industrial heritage

By introducing a volumetric core to a poorly-planned apartment—set on the top floor of a former automotive assembly plant in central Chicago—local firm Vladimir Radutny Architects was able to soften its rough, imposing shell and to define the interior space more clearly. The practice's goal was to craft a living environment that evokes mental wellbeing; not an easy feat given the locale's gritty heritage. Stacking two mezzanine levels, the wooden-clad structure helps articulate and organize public and private areas. While the lower platform of the insert serves as an impromptu guest bedroom, it's top level cuts into the building's slanted roof, providing access to a lush roof garden. Scaled architectural components, material restraint, and theatrical lighting lessen the overall spatial dominance of the erstwhile factory and yet openness and clarity are strategically maintained. While shared living spaces—an open plan lounge, den, dining room, and kitchen are left exposed, a raized wooden platform that extends out of the volumetric core helps frame these concrete floor areas. Cleverly cast in the same material, the initial four steps of the first core-adjacent stairwell hints at the pre-existing surface. Living functions such as laundry, mechanicals, and storage, integrated within the built-in cabinetry dispersed throughout the space. Kitchen elements are treated similarly and placed atop the raised platform to elevate one’s experience during the preparation of meals and to gain a better vantage point in the direction of the city’s most iconic street Michigan Avenue. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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TECH+ Expo and Forum announces three conferences in 2020

AN Media Group, the publisher of The Architect’s Newspaper, has announced its upcoming 2020 TECH+ Expo and Forum events in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The conferences showcase the latest in AEC technological innovation, with presentations by industry thought leaders and hands-on demos from an array of companies both new and established showcasing the latest in smart building systems, advanced materials, and other products.

“I got the chance to speak with architects, engineers, construction managers, people from all across the industry” said Cody Kessler of the imaging company Nearmap, of a previous TECH+ conference. “Some of the biggest construction firms that I’ve ever talked to were here at the event.” Conceived as a day-long symposium and expo for both established and up-and-coming tech companies in the AEC realm, the symposium will bring together engineers, architects, real estate experts, app developers, and other industry insiders.

 “When we started TECH+ three years ago we were the first conference of this nature focused entirely on the tech hitting the AEC community,” said Susan Kramer, programming and special events director at AN Media Group. “So much has changed in this short period, with architectural firms not only catching up to the construction industry in implementing tech, but with so many firms creating their own apps and platforms, which I think is revolutionary.”

Previous speakers have featured industry leaders including Dennis Sheldon from the Digital Building Lab, Gensler's Hao Ko, plus leaders from HOK, Thornton Tomasetti, IBM, SHoP, Gensler, Atelier Ten, Trimble, Turner Construction, Branch Technology, and the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab. Past exhibitors have included PlanGrid, Propmodo, View Dynamic Glass, Morpholio, cove.tool, IrisVR, Kubity, Chaos Group, and Graphisoft, among others.

TECH+ will take place in Los Angeles at the LINE Hotel on February 6, 2020; speakers will be announced in mid-November. Following on last summer’s successful New York event, TECH+ will be returning to the city on July 16 at the New York Academy of Sciences. TECH+ will be held in Chicago on October 18. “We like championing these inventors and revolutionaries on the TECH+ stage, and sharing their knowledge and insights with our audience,” said Kramer. “The electricity of dialogue and engagement during these events could be its own power source.”

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Updated visuals revealed for Chicago's Obama Center

On Tuesday, October 29, the nonprofit Obama Foundation released the third round of renderings for the Obama Presidential Center, the 20-acre complex coming to the historic Jackson Park in Chicago’s South Side. Designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA), the $500 million project has been a long-time coming and has miles to go before it hopes to be approved for construction next year.  Deemed too heavy and foreboding when it was first unveiled in May 2017, the initial version of the central museum tower was scrapped and TWBTA went back to the drawing board only to emerge with a taller, lighter vision intended to please both President Obama and local Chicagoans. According to Blair Karmin of the Chicago Tribune, Obama still wanted the structure to be more engaging in form, hence the more faceted look revealed now.  But Kamin, in his weekly Sunday column, said the idea for the now-235-foot-tall building is still not where it needs to be:
“The design…is considerably improved, especially on its main, south-facing front. But the tower has yet to become a compelling object — or icon, to use the currently overused word — from all sides. That matters. Because when you’re planning on putting a 235-foot-tall tower in Jackson Park and dramatically altering a landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, you had better be pitch-perfect from every angle of the compass.”
One of the most notable updates to the tower is an 88-foot-tall slender cutout that reveals activity and the circulation inside. From within the building, the skinny swath of window showcases views of The Forum building to the left and the Michael Van Valkenburgh-designed landscape below. The biggest issue the architects will face now, per Kamin’s review, is rethinking the north side of the structure—what people driving southbound will see first as they enter the complex. Right now, it appears brutalist in form, with very few windows, though the building still features the elongated window mirrored on the front.  The good news is that Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, principals of their eponymous firm in New York, are experienced museum designers. In fact, their firm almost exclusively takes on cultural and academic projects, places that are open to the general public. The duo just wrapped up construction on Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art, a small and airy museum with big-gallery energy, as well as The Goel Center for Theater and Dancer at the University of Exeter. The Obama Presidential Center is arguably the tallest museum they’ve ever designed; the building houses vertically-stacked galleries inside a textured, granite-clad massing. “We design from the inside out,” Williams told the Chicago Tribune. The design team will produce a fourth version of the building before its likely 2020 groundbreaking, as the text on the upper screen wall still needs to be finalized.
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Chicago's largest co-living complex will come to a historic skyscraper

The 92-year-old Clark Adams Building, also known as the Bankers Building, on the Chicago Loop is set to become the largest co-living complex in the city. Local developer CityPads will complete an $80 million renovation to bring 505 residences, managed by Common, and an additional 159 apartments to the top 31 floors of the 41-story former office building. The renovation will be renamed the “Common Burnham,” named after the building’s original designers, the Burnham Brothers, who completed the project in 1927. This will be the fifth co-living space run by Common in Chicago, but the privilege of living in such a well-known building will be significantly more expensive than other locations, with rooms—not units—starting at $1,400 a month.  While the building is setting co-living unit records in Chicago and many other major cities, it still pales in comparison to some of the gargantuan co-living spaces planned in other parts of the country. New York will get its own 500-person co-living building in 2022 from the London-based firm The Collective, while San Jose could see an 800-person occupancy tower as soon as 2021.  The Loop area has become an attractive market for co-living spaces, in part because of the city’s high cost of living and downtown's rising office vacancies. Only about half of the Clark-Adams Building office spaces are currently occupied, and other office buildings in the area have gone through residential transitions, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You’ll start to see a lot of these Central Loop buildings being converted to residential," CityPads founder Andy Ahitow told the Chicago Tribune. "It’s an area that’s transitioning to a residential market. There are close to 20,000 people living in the Loop now, and it continues to grow." The Common Burnham will function much the same as other co-living spaces, with small single occupancy rooms and shared amenities like bathrooms, kitchens, and common spaces (aka, dorm-like). 105 West Adams Street is set to reopen its doors to tenants in early 2022.