Posts tagged with "Illinois":
Sleek black rain screen reflects Porsche Design's understated style.In the world of high-end retail, first impressions matter. Knowing this, DXU, LLC principal Eric Styer took special care selecting a facade material for the Porsche Design boutique in Oak Brook, Illinois. "We were trying to play off Porsche Design's simplicity and clean lines," said Styer, referring to the clothing and leather goods retailer's minimalist style. "Of course, this location is in a mall, so we had to deal with [their requirements] as well." After first eliminating other options on budgetary, performance, or aesthetic grounds, the architect found himself drawn to Dekton, an ultra-compact surfacing material from Cosentino. Styer's solution, a matte black Dekton rain screen featuring mitered joint detailing and integrated acrylic signage, plays up the material's strengths to embody Porsche Design's understated glamour. "We were looking for materials that would meet Porsche Design's design qualities as well as the mall's," recalled Styer. "They were pushing us to get granite on the exterior. However, that potentially leans in a direction we didn't want to follow." Specifically, Styer worried that the marbling on granite or another natural stone would distract from the overall impression he hoped to convey—of a solid block carved into masses and voids. In search of a similarly durable material, he reached out to Cosentino. The company mentioned Dekton, which was just being introduced to the United States, and suggested that the Porsche Design presented a unique opportunity to explore the material's use in a new application (as a facade). Styer was soon convinced that the material, composed of naturally existing inorganic minerals subjected to a patented high-heat, high-pressure process, would help him realize his technical and aesthetic ambitions. Styer, who half-jokingly referred to Dekton as "basically surfacing on steroids," selected the material for three principal reasons. The first was its technical compatibility with his design. Dekton is manufactured in 5-foot by 10-foot slabs, thus reducing the occurrence of joints or seams. In addition, it can be miter-cut to mimic the appearance of cut stone. "That went back to the very simplistic, minimalistic impression we were looking for," explained Styer. "For all of our fenestrations in the building we have three-inch returns tucked behind the storefront volumes; that aspect of the material was perfect for Porsche Design." Durability was another important factor in the architect's decision to go with Dekton. The Oak Brook Porsche Design store is located on a high-traffic corner in a popular mall, making it especially vulnerable to wear and tear. Given Chicago's freeze-thaw cycle, Dekton's resistance to thermal shock was also a plus. As well as being technically appropriate and rugged, Dekton appealed to Styer on aesthetic grounds. Elegant but not showy, it captures the Porsche Design brand's emphasis on quality over bling. And though the material was available in only a limited number of colors and finishes at the time (Cosentino's offerings have since expanded to 23 colors), one of those combinations—the matte black Sirius—echoed the interior painting scheme. "In the interior, Porsche Design uses black glass, so if a high gloss black was available, we would have chosen that," said Styer. "But they also use matte black paint, so [Sirius] was perfect for us." The Dekton panels were installed as a ventilated rain screen. "There were some complications, maybe something of a learning curve in the fabrication process," recalled Styer. "A lot of that was due to the newness of the product in the States." None of the components that had been used to install Dekton rain screens in the United Kingdom were yet available on the other side of the pond, he explained, so "the Cosentino team had to jump through some hoops to get them here." The extra effort was worth it, however, as the particularities of the Dekton rain screen helped mitigate the difficulty of dealing with a preexisting structural rhythm. "For it being a pretty hard material, it was flexible in terms of some of the parameters we were looking for," said Styer. "There were piers we couldn't change, and a parapet element we had to tuck back into. To us, it seemed like a magic material." Styer is understandably pleased with where his hunt for an appropriate facade material led him—so much so that he looks forward to further experiments with Dekton. He mentioned in particular the capacity for bookmatching, and imagines a facade distinguished by a mirrored pattern. "It seems like you'd have more of an opportunity to do that with Dekton than with traditional stone," mused Styer. "It's a new aesthetic area I would like to investigate."
Navy Pier's new "Wave Wall" by nArchitects lays a modern Spanish Steps at the foot of a Ferris wheel
This urban intervention in Chicago would let citizens control colorful lights under the "El" with their smartphones
For most people visiting or living in Chicago, Wabash Avenue in the Loop is a dark, noisy, sometimes scary place to either avoid or walk quickly through. Positioned between the history of State Street and the futuristic playground of Millennium Park, Wabash Avenue is an underutilized resource in the city for art, culture, and business.The design calls for 520 light tubes that are programmable every 1.2 inches, and Chicago residents can control the lights using a smartphone or computer. The project was initially entangled in a bit of a bureaucratic red tape, but it now has gained all of the approvals needed to move forward with a pilot outside of the Palmer House Hilton on Wabash Avenue. The duo has been working closely with the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the city government. To contribute to the project and see Chicago’s streets come to life, head on over to their Kickstarter page.
Metal and glass accentuate Chicago high-rise's iconic form.Given the odds stacked against it, Godfrey Hotel's 2014 opening in Chicago counts as a major victory—even if it took more than a decade to get there. Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) signed on to the project in 2003, after being approached by a developer affiliated with a mid-market hospitality chain. Four years later, following a delay in financing, construction was finally underway. Then the recession hit, the original developer went under, and the building remained half-finished. The case languished in bankruptcy court until 2012, when Oxford Capital Group purchased the property. Fortunately, boutique hotel operator Oxford Hotels and Resorts hired VDTA to complete the project—with few changes to the original plans. "It's interesting that through the course of the almost four years that this sat wrapped in tarps, it remained desirable," said VDTA's David Jennerjahn. "For the hotel operator, it was a really distinguishing architectural design." Together with its cantilevered form, Godfrey hotel's slick metal panel and glass facade combines function and aesthetics in an iconic package. The hotel appears as a series of three offset rectangular boxes, stacked vertically. "The building has a very symbolic form—what I would call a very muscular form—and none of that is arbitrary," said VDTA's Joe Valerio. The offsets serve two purposes. First, they express the building's structure, which follows the staggered truss system developed in the 1960s by William LeMessurier, a noted structural engineer. As the name suggests, LeMessurier's method involves staggering story-high steel trusses on alternating column lines, thus creating large clear span interiors. Though the staggered truss system is usually deployed to create buildings that "look like a cereal box," said Valerio, VDTA approached their structural engineer with an alternative proposal. "We nonchalantly said, 'There's a lot of redundant strength there. [The volumes] should be able to cantilever out,'" he recalled. The structural engineer gave them the go-ahead, and Godfrey Hotel's unique form was born. As an additional benefit, the stacked configuration allowed the architects to carve the interior spaces into a variety of room types and sizes, an idea they prized from the project's beginning—and which Oxford Hotels and Resorts, in particular, embraced. Like the offsets, said Jennerjahn, the building's skin performs a specific set of functions even as it "works toward the goal of creating a distinctive boutique hotel image." On the north and south facades, an insulated metal panel system from Metl-Span attaches directly to the stud work, doing triple duty as weather barrier, vapor barrier, and insulation. Integrated punched windows nod to the River North neighborhood's masonry fabric, while the panels' taut surface avoids detracting attention from the building's unique shape. Finally, said Jennerjahn, "using a metal skin on a metal frame building was another tie to an honest expression [of the structure]." The east and west facades are almost entirely transparent. "In 2003, no one had heard of LEED," said Valerio. Noting the potential for solar gain, he explained, "If we were designing the building today, we wouldn't have all-glass walls on the east and west elevations. We put them there because we wanted to take advantage of the views." The glass also reveals the staggered truss system. Because the trusses run north-south, opening the building to the east and west was the only way to show them off. "That created other opportunities we did not even think of," said Valerio. In some cases, he said, "the trusses really become a part of the room," operating as built-in furniture. Despite the change in ownership and an eleven-year gap between conception and execution, Godfrey Hotel's architectural design remained almost entirely unaltered. "There were some changes internally, but the exterior of the building and the expression of the building were very consistent," observed Jennerjahn. Valerio agrees—and is humble enough to acknowledge the unusual serendipity of the situation. "Oxford fundamentally built the hotel exactly as we had designed it," he said. "It was really just an amazing kind of dumb luck."
Developers tap Perkins + Will principal to help redevelop site adjacent to Bertrand Goldberg's River City
Via Kenny Kim Photography, take a look inside the renovated Chicago Motor Club building: