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Thread: Chicago Reaching for the Sky

  1. #1
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    Default Chicago Reaching for the Sky

    This thread will try to sum up most of the notable new highrise construction in Chicago. Here's a good introductory article from the Chicago Tribune:

    Tall and thin may be the future, but city's mission must be to see the light -- and patches of blue -- as its new, dazzling towers reach for the sky

    By Blair Kamin
    Tribune architecture critic
    Published November 13, 2005

    Chicago has long been a city of cloud busting skyscrapers, but its latest push toward the sky is enough to make jaws drop, eyes pop and start alarm bells ringing.

    Every week, it seems, a rendering of a new tower is splashed across the front page or the business page in the hopes of generating positive "buzz" and attracting potential buyers and investors.

    Some of this may be pure hucksterism. Nothing like a sexy architect's rendering to drum up a prospective tenant or two. Still, every proposal bears watching. It's the ugly one we ignore that -- surprise! -- will get built.

    The trend goes beyond the biggest headline grabbers, the 2,000-footers that have spawned nicknames such as "the Drill Bit" and "the Tweezer Tower." Not since the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Sears Tower, the Standard Oil Building (now the Aon Center) and the John Hancock Center redefined the Chicago skyline, have there been such spectacular possibilities for aesthetic payoffs and pratfalls. At stake in this profusion of residential towers and one proposed broadcast tower is the character of North Michigan Avenue, the lakefront, the riverfront and the walls of buildings flanking Grant Park. The skyline is sure to assume a new center of gravity along a new Gold Coast -- the once-foul Chicago River, where Donald Trump's much-hyped, 1,361-foot hotel and condo tower soon will rise out of a construction pit, and more giants may follow.

    None of this is accidental. With little public discussion, Mayor Daley's administration has made a dramatic policy reversal, encouraging great height rather than forcing developers to make their towers shorter. At the House of Daley, where the city's architectural cloth gets cut, tall and thin is in. Short and squat is out. It is, on the whole, a change for the better.

    City planners envision a skyline comprising pencil thin "point" towers that leave space around them for light and air. When it works, it should be dazzling, offering the best of both worlds -- great height without overwhelming congestion.

    Yet all architecture, like all politics, is local. Tall towers do not belong everywhere. Some stand to do as much harm as good, canyonizing streets, dwarfing waterfronts or marring the skyline with bizarre Buck Rogers silhouettes. The emphasis on bigness still has to come to terms with smallness -- the shops, restaurants and other human-scaled features that give cities their accidental, quirky appeal.

    Almost no one suggests that Chicago adopt a highly prescriptive set of design rules that would mandate the shape of towers. That could well kill off a building boom that is the envy of other cities and staunch the city's celebrated tradition of innovation.

    But there is a need for the city to develop a planning framework that offers specific guidelines about where tall towers should go, how they can be placed so they block as few views as possible, and how they should behave at ground level to avoid the sort of city-deadening blank walls that now blight River North.

    Such guidelines offer the prospect of carefully managed growth instead of unchecked, Dodge City growth, a specter that became very real last month when developers J. Paul Beitler and LR Development Co. unveiled plans for a 2,000-foot broadcast tower along the lakefront.

    The plan, it turns out, was a slick switcheroo.

    For months, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR), a respected neighborhood group, negotiated with LR over a condominium tower of about 60 stories that was to rise on the west side of Lake Shore Drive just across from Lake Point Tower. Chicago architect Ralph Johnson of Perkins & Will, who has produced some of the city's finest residential towers, designed the structure, whose details haven't been made public. SOAR members were happy with the broad strokes of Johnson's design and with details such as a dog run.

    Then they woke up on Oct. 25 and read the front-page story about the broadcast tower, designed by New Haven, Conn., architect Cesar Pelli.

    "Basically, it's a giant utility pole," said Brian Hopkins, a SOAR board member.

    Following the route usually taken by developers, Beitler and LR only pictured their plan when they announced the tweezer-shaped tower, conveniently ignoring another planned 2,000-foot skyscraper just a few blocks to the south, Santiago Calatrava's Fordham Spire, which would be shaped like a giant drill bit.

    Calatrava's design, which still must be financed and receive city approval, appears astonishingly graceful when it stands alone, an extraordinary piece of architectural sculpture that marks a special place in the city, the meeting of the lakefront and the river.

    But with the broadcast tower alongside it, as pictured in a composite photo prepared for this story, it looks like one-half of the world's largest set of football goal posts.

    This is but one example of the costs of unchecked growth.

    Chicago's explosion of tall towers is at once a real estate phenomenon and an urban planning phenomenon, illustrating how quickly ideas from one city can migrate to another in the global age.

    One reason for the tall towers, real estate experts say, is that developers have moved from secondary sites, such as the West Loop and the western flanks of River North, to marquee locations, such as North Michigan Avenue. There, land is more expensive and the developers need to build taller so they can make a profit.

    Then there is the Trump factor. The developer and reality TV star has pushed Chicago's luxury condominium market to new physical and financial heights, blazing a trail that competitors lust to follow. Trump reportedly is getting stratospheric prices at his Trump International Hotel & Tower -- about $1,000 a square foot, up from roughly $675 a foot when he started selling condos there a few years ago.

    "Other developers are looking at his numbers and drooling," says Gail Lissner, vice president of Chicago-based Appraisal Research Counselors.

    Last but hardly least is City Hall's changing attitude toward tall buildings, a shift that reflects the growing influence of Vancouver in urban planning circles.

    Why Vancouver? Because it offers an eminently livable model of tall, thin high-rise towers set on townhouse podiums.

    That prototype clearly is familiar to key city planners, including Lori Healey, the city's new commissioner of Planning and Development, and Sam Assefa a former San Francisco planner who is Daley's deputy chief of staff for economic and physical development.

    Assefa helped encourage Chicago architects David Haymes and George Pappageorge to stretch their planned One Museum Park condo tower at the southern end of Grant Park to 720 feet from an initial proposed height of 450 feet. That move shocked the architects, who recognized that the site demanded a commanding presence, but were used to the city's old ways of knocking down height to make towers palatable to neighbors.

    "They said: `Can't you make it taller?' We were taken aback by that," Haymes said.

    Healey said: "There has been a growing movement in the design community to educate the development world that tall, slender buildings are not bad things . . . [They allow] developers and their architects to be innovative."

    Of that, there is little doubt. Look at the contrast between the tall and thin Park Tower, which soars 844 feet above the sidewalk at 800 N. Michigan, and the short and squat Peninsula Hotel building, which sits just to its south at 730-750 N. Michigan, and you see the basic wisdom in the city's shift.

    Yes, the mansard-roofed Park Tower, which was designed by Lucien Lagrange Architects, looks like a big yellow rocket ship and could have been more architecturally daring. But it's still a good piece of urban design, with elegant proportions and a silhouette that doesn't overwhelm the neighboring park around the old Chicago Water Tower.

    By contrast, the 20-story Peninsula building is a stump, a five-star hotel with a one-star public face.

    More skinny towers are on the way, and with Daley warming to adventurous design in the wake of Millennium Park's success, they promise to be fresh and modern rather than tried-and-true traditional.

    One intriguing example, now under construction at 340 E. Randolph Drive and designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, will soar 672 feet and will include a 25th-floor winter garden with exterior glass walls that open in warm weather, allowing residents to proceed onto a terrace and gaze over Millennium Park.

    But top-of-the-line amenities for affluent buyers by no means guarantee the quality of the public realm we all inhabit.

    As towers rise, so do concerns about snarled traffic, blocked views and pedestrians being blown off their feet by downdrafts that woosh off the sides of skyscrapers. Density is good because it means people can walk or take public transit to their jobs instead of driving. But when it takes 10 minutes to drive a few blocks in Streeterville at rush hour, are we starting to reach the limits of density?

    Streeterville is especially vulnerable to congestion at street level, for unlike the Illinois Center mega-development south of the Chicago River, it has no three-tiered subterranean circulation system. Thank goodness for that. But this means Streeterville's narrow, at-grade street grid must carry the load -- delivery vans, garbage trucks, taxis, even the pizza guy.

    Such quality-of-life concerns transcend architecture, suggesting that there is far more to the debate over the city's growth than the graceful presence of towers on the skyline. Indeed, while the design standards of the new towers are head and shoulders above the concrete hulks of River North, good architecture in some cases may not be enough.

    A fresh example is the newly announced proposal that would replace the banal north tower of the InterContinental Chicago hotel on North Michigan Avenue with an 850-foot hotel and condominium skyscraper while leaving intact the hotel's 42-story Art Deco south tower. The plan, designed by Lucien Lagrange Architects, calls for a glass-sheathed tower that would rise straight up from the North Michigan Avenue sidewalk.

    And that has the potential to cause great trouble.

    Even though the architectural quality of buildings along North Michigan Avenue has declined precipitously in recent years, it remains a delightful place to walk -- not a darkened canyon, like LaSalle Street, but a boulevard with abundant sunlight and patches of blue sky. The chief reason for this blessing is that nearly all the very tall buildings along North Michigan, from the John Hancock Center to Lagrange's own Park Tower, have towers that are set back from the street, either behind plazas, parks or retail podiums.

    The InterContinental proposal offers something very different. While it would have notches in its upper reaches, there would be no setbacks. The architecture is appealing enough, at first glance, and could, with considerable tweaking, form an elegant backdrop for the Art Deco tower to its south.

    But if the building rises without a significant setback, it might open the door to other, very tall towers along North Michigan. And that would risk turning the street into a darkened canyon.

    Trump's tower offers a taller, bulkier variation on this theme.

    No one doubts the ability of its architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago, to superbly detail the giant. What remains very much in question, however, is whether Trump's mega-tower will overwhelm the riverfront with the substantial girth of its clifflike southern wall. The squat Chicago Sun-Times building that used to occupy the site looked, at best, like a marooned river barge. But at least its seven stories didn't hog the sky.

    All this demands a question: Can the city do a better job guiding where tall towers go?

    Healey, the planning commissioner, expressed satisfaction with the way things work. When it comes to the placement of skyscrapers, "we respond to the private sector," she said.

    Asked if that means the Department of Planning and Development is essentially passive, more like the Department of Reacting and Development, she responded that Chicago does guide growth by regulating density. Many of the new tall buildings, she added, are actually less dense than zoning laws allow.

    It's true that Chicago's Planning Unit Development zoning category has been an effective, if secretive, arm-twisting device for winning public amenities. But typically, as the pitiful public art and other decorations tacked onto the bases of the monstrous high-rises of River North reveal, these efforts amount to little more than damage control -- the regulatory equivalent of perfuming the pig.

    Why not develop flexible planning guidelines that direct growth in advance rather than forcing planners to engage in futile rear-guard actions?

    Architect Johnson, whose credits include the acclaimed Skybridge and Contemporaine high-rises, offers some answers: He suggests that the city spell out where conventional wall-like buildings should go (along Grant Park and the lakefront) and where tall "point" towers would be appropriate (behind the clifflike lakefront wall). City planners, he adds, also could encourage developers to provide lively streetscapes instead of brute walls, lining parking podiums with townhouses, plus the shops and restaurants that provide essential neighborhood gathering places.

    "A framework like this might make sense out of what we are doing," Johnson wrote in a series of sketches laying out his ideas. "It's at least better than nothing."

    He's right. Without more fine-grained tools to guide growth, Chicago risks becoming a city of mega-projects where the small gets lost in the big and the big is placed indiscriminately amid the cityscape with devastating consequences.

    There is a difference between a vital city and a healthy city. In a healthy city, traffic is not perpetually snarled, tall towers inspire awe rather than fear, and there is not a Darwinian struggle for access to light and views. Chicago's reach for the sky is heading in the right direction, but it must be refined if the cityscape is to reach its highest, humanistic potential -- truly healthy rather than merely vital.

    Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune

  2. #2
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    InterContinental plans skyscraper
    Hotel/condo tower would reshape part of Magnificent Mile

    By Thomas A. Corfman
    Tribune staff reporter
    Published November 1, 2005

    The nondescript north tower of the InterContinental Chicago hotel on Michigan Avenue would be replaced with a 71-story hotel/condominium skyscraper, under a dramatic proposal that would reshape the south end of the Magnificent Mile.

    The ambitious plan would not affect the key architectural features of the 42-story Art Deco south tower, which is topped by a Moorish-styled dome, said Laurence Geller, chief executive of Strategic Hotel Capital Inc., which acquired the hotel about seven months ago. The 26-story north tower, notable for its blank concrete exterior along the avenue, was built as a separate hotel in 1961.

    The proposal must receive city zoning approval. Construction, which would depend on sales of the high-priced condo units, is not expected to start until mid-2007 at the earliest.

    The proposed skyscraper, to be designed by Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange, "adds an elegance" to the historic tower, without a "dwarfing factor," Geller said. "Truthfully, it would replace a building that is not particularly pleasing," he added.

    Even so, the new tower is sure to prompt scrutiny by preservationists, concerned about the continued "canyonization" of North Michigan Avenue, and by some Streeterville neighbors, who already feel cramped from the building boom east of the hotel, including plans for two 2,000-foot skyscrapers in the last four months.

    But the financial aspects of the plan also are expected to spark questions on Wall Street, even for a company known as an aggressive asset manager. While most hotel owners would only consider development plans for a poorly performing property, Chicago-based Strategic is proposing a redevelopment of a well-performing asset to make it better.

    "Strategic is never shy about changing a property type to maximize value," said hotel analyst John Arabia with Newport Beach, Calif.-based Green Street Advisors Inc., who hadn't been briefed on the plan. "It would be a pretty big move."

    Strategic paid about $170 million for an 85 percent interest in the 807-room property at 505 N. Michigan Ave. The hotel pulled in almost $6.4 million in the second quarter, accounting for nearly 17 percent of the real estate investment trust's earnings of $37.6 million before interest and other expenses, according to a financial statement. Room rates averaged about $193 a night during the quarter, and the hotel was more than 83 percent occupied.

    The new tower would include 150 hotel suites, 310 condos, parking and 11,000 square feet of prime, first-floor retail space. It would replace a building with 477 rooms, reducing the overall number of rooms to 480.

    The 330-room historic south tower would receive a $15 million renovation, a key part of a repositioning of the property.

    "We're moving it from being a big, bulk group hotel, which is doing very well, into a luxury hotel that will compete against the top end of the market," Geller said.

    Strategic, which is represented by prominent zoning attorney Jack Guthman of Shefsky & Froelich Ltd., is filing an application for a planned development Tuesday.

    The plans also include construction of a landscaped plaza over a portion of Grand Avenue east of Michigan. And the hotel's entrance would be moved to Illinois Street to reduce congestion on Michigan, Geller said.

    The proposed 850-foot tower would be almost twice the height of the historic south tower, which was built in 1929 as the Medinah Athletic Club and is known for its blend of design features inspired by sources that range from ancient Egypt to the Italian Renaissance.

    Moreover, some of the city's best-known skyscrapers of that era, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the McGraw-Hill Building, which was rebuilt in 2000, are within steps of the InterContinental, further highlighting the differences in height.

    But key to the new development is the continued strength of the high-end condominium market, which is seemingly overcrowded with projects.

    "I believe a building like this on Michigan Avenue is a unique opportunity that stands to segregate itself out from the bulk of the stuff that's being put out there," Geller said

    Strategic, which is advised by Chicago-based U.S. Equities Realty Co., has already held talks with several local developers, including LR Development Co. and Magellan Development Group Ltd., he said.

    Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune

  3. #3
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    2,000-foot TV tower may pierce skyline

    By Thomas A. Corfman and Blair Kamin
    Tribune staff reporters
    Published October 25, 2005

    Imagine this addition to Chicago's fabled skyline: a futuristic, tweezer-shaped broadcast tower looming 2,000 feet over the lakefront as one of the world's tallest structures.

    The digital age may soon bring this sleek, scissors-like conversation piece to the city, within clear view of the tourists at Navy Pier who will either ooh with awe or laugh with disbelief.

    To be designed by prominent architect Cesar Pelli, the tower would help redefine Chicago's horizon. Rising above the skyline between the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower, it would usher in a new era of daring, ultramodern architecture for the city. Another sensation would be a proposed Santiago Calatrava-designed skyscraper shaped like a drill bit.

    The $300 million Pelli tower would function as a platform for local television stations to mount their new high-definition broadcasting antennas.

    Instead of building a conventional building that reserves roof space for antennas, the developers--J. Paul Beitler and LR Development Co.--are proposing the lower-cost option of a needle-thin, triple-spired tripod. At the top would be several floors for restaurants and an observation deck, and at the base would be a 400-car garage. The tapered space in between would be largely open, except for six large beams connecting the spires.

    "It is a very intelligent structure," said Pelli, in a telephone interview from his office in New Haven, Conn. He compared the structure to a ship's mast, saying it will be "a very handsome form next to the water."

    The proposed broadcast tower, which would be located along Lake Shore Drive between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, would jump past the CN Tower in Toronto, which at 1,815 feet holds the title as the world's tallest free-standing broadcast tower.

    But comparing tall structures is complicated, so much so that it can seem the height of absurdity.

    Not a building

    For one, the structure could not lay claim to becoming one of the world's tallest buildings because it isn't technically a building--its structure would not be filled with floors as in a conventional skyscraper.

    Currently, the world's tallest building is the 1,671-foot Taipei 101 in Taiwan, but other superstructures are under development.

    Among broadcast antennas, the proposed lakefront structure is taller than the CN Tower but would fall short of a guywire-supported radio mast antenna in North Dakota, as well as an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports.

    Beitler, president and chief executive of the Chicago-based real estate firm that bears his name, confirmed the broad outlines of the project, which does not yet have city approval.

    "We are not out to have the tallest building in the world, or the tallest anything," Beitler said. "That's simply silly because somebody will come along and build something taller. There have been a lot of tombstones put up for people who proposed the `tallest.' The problem has always been financeability, and we have financing."

    The project would be driven by agreements, not yet signed, with local television stations, which are preparing for a shift to exclusively high-definition broadcasting, expected to be required in 2009.

    Beitler declined to comment on the status of any talks with broadcasters. Local television stations currently broadcast HDTV and traditional analog broadcast signals from the 1,451-foot Sears Tower in the West Loop and the 1,127-foot John Hancock Center on North Michigan Avenue, where they lease space.

    But television executives have long wanted a third option that they would control, and in the late 1990s even floated a proposal for a free-standing antenna mast that would have been located either in the suburbs or on the West Side.

    The selling point of the new tower is that high-definition signals need to emanate from the highest, least obstructed point.

    Still, the new tower is not a done deal.

    Neighbors overwhelmed

    In addition to tough negotiations with broadcasters, the latest proposal will likely be an even tougher sell to Streeterville residents, many of whom already feel overwhelmed by new high-rise construction and suffocated by traffic generated by Navy Pier.

    The proposed site, which is zoned for a 610-foot structure, is just a few blocks north of a riverfront parcel where another developer has proposed a 115-story condominium/hotel to be designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava that would also soar to 2,000 feet.

    As originally proposed in July, the Calatrava tower did not include broadcast facilities. But developer Christopher Carley said he may eventually add broadcast transmission facilities to his project, called Fordham Spire.

    "As the time goes on, there is going to be more and more demand for these high antennas, not only high definition," said Carley, chairman of Chicago-based Fordham Co.

    He said he has not had any discussions with local broadcasters, and didn't think the newly proposed broadcast tower would affect his project.

    Whether the lakefront could accommodate two tall towers so close by would depend on neighborhood residents, who Carley expected would raise several concerns to the broadcast tower.

    "It's not the height per se," he said. "It's more traffic, density, blocked views and shadows."

    Beitler said the Planning Department has been briefed on the plans.

    "I think it would be very dynamic to have two great architects like this put up buildings so close to each other," said Beitler. "I think they are so completely different from each other it would be interesting."

    The proposed broadcast tower would be on a 41,000-square-foot site owned by a joint venture that includes LR Development, a Chicago luxury residential firm, and JER Partners, a Virginia investment firm.

    Thomas Weeks, president of LR Development, declined comment.

    Beitler is a veteran office developer whose projects include the Pelli-designed 181 W. Madison St. and 131 S. Dearborn St. In the late 1980s Beitler and Lee Miglin proposed a "world's tallest" tower for a Loop site, but the deal ended in foreclosure.

    Beitler's partner, LR Development, also is co-owner of the site that developer Carley would buy for the Calatrava tower.

    Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune

  4. #4


    I can't be the only person in the NYC area that feels a little jealous.

  5. #5


    Chicago re-takes the lead in American skyscrapers.

  6. #6


    Wish the Calatrava and Pelli towers weren't so close together. They're both very interesting and unique towers.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by greenie
    Wish the Calatrava and Pelli towers weren't so close together.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Dagrecco82
    I can't be the only person in the NYC area that feels a little jealous.
    Everyone else just doesn't admit it. It's like penis envy, someone doesn't just go out and say how he wishes his wang was as big as someone else's.

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    Two articles about the area in Chicago seeing the most new construction:

    High-speed high-rises stagger Streeterville

    By Kathy Bergen and John Handley
    Tribune staff reporters

    Published July 17, 2005

    Streeterville residents are not a naive bunch.

    They moved into their condos and apartments knowing they would share their turf with hordes of tourists bound for Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier or Millennium Park. And they knew that the patchwork of surface parking lots dotting the landscape would eventually give way to more high-rises, and that those new skyscrapers, ranging from 26 to 65 stories, would block some spectacular views.

    Still, many are reeling at the sheer volume of high-rise residential development storming their way at the southern end of the neighborhood. Within the next five years, another 13 high-rises will go up in the area wedged between Michigan Avenue and the lake, and Chicago Avenue and the river. That will boost the supply of apartments and condominiums by more than a third, to 12,523 units.

    The building boom could bring another 5,250 residents to a neighborhood already housing 13,535, according to some estimates.

    "Streeterville had been a totally overlooked sub-market, but now it's hot," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors.

    "The new wave of Streeterville development has started," said Daniel McLean, president of MCL Cos., which already has built three residential high-rises and plans two more. "We're halfway."

    The speed of change is making some residents sweat.

    "It seems kind of overwhelming," said Deborah Mitchell, a marketing consultant who owns a one-bedroom condo on East Ohio. "The numbers I've heard seem staggering."

    The concerns weighing on the neighborhood are many. What will happen to already-congested traffic, to panoramic views, to property values? What will happen to the character of the neighborhood, to the way it feels to walk down the street?

    "Most people who live in the area find this a good place to live," said James Houston, president of the Streeterville Organization for Active Residents (SOAR). "Our concern is that if we get excessive density and begin to approach the feel of Midtown Manhattan, we may begin to see a decline in interest in living in this area. I don't think we're there yet, but we need to consider this as development proceeds in the future."

    Not everyone wary

    "Parking lots are not the best use of space," said Connie Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Planning and Development. "This is a high-density corridor, and people want to live there because there is so much to do."

    An increase in residents should spell big business for the stores on North Michigan Avenue. Streeterville residents "shop locally, and that's part of the reason North Michigan Avenue has been a phenomenal success," said John Maxson, president and chief executive of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.

    The area was zoned for high-rise development 20 years ago, noted Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd).

    "We've been struggling to negotiate with developers, on a volunteer basis, to reduce the size and alter the projects," Natarus said. "Also, we've been working with SOAR on their neighborhood plan, which does not have the effect of law but gives ideas on how to change."

    The plan urges developers to preserve historic elements, maximize street-level natural light, use architectural screening on above-ground parking, and include landscaped areas in new developments, among other things.

    Still, random chats with neighborhood residents indicate many harbor concerns, the biggest ones centering on traffic.

    On summer evenings, traffic can gel into gridlock, especially when there are special events in the area, said Stephen Daniels, a legal researcher who owns a condo on East Ohio as a second family home.

    On such nights, "traffic-wise, it's almost unbearable," he said. "And with what's on the books, it will only increase."

    The city is trying to be proactive on the issue, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

    For instance, the city is considering a $4 million program to coordinate the timing of all traffic signals in Streeterville so they will work in sequences tailored to meet the traffic flow needs at peak times. The program is expected to go into effect next year.

    Within Streeterville, there is no room to build new roads or expand existing ones, "so our goal is to manage the capacity we have," Steele said.

    The city also works with developers to come up with ways to prevent traffic problems, he said.

    Views indefinite

    Then there's the issue of views.

    Many residents understand that the views they've enjoyed will not last forever.

    "If I really wanted a view of the lake, I would have paid for a place with a lake view," Daniels said. "I can't complain because I'm not paying a premium for a view."

    Others are less sanguine.

    Law student Shaun Raad and his girlfriend, attorney Amanda Feltman, would consider moving from their 35th-floor one-bedroom apartment on East Ohio if a planned development to the east should block their view of Navy Pier, Raad said.

    The couple also has grown attached to a small, temporary park about a block from their home, where they take their 10-week-old golden retriever, Wrigley.

    "It's beautiful and we've met tons of people here," Raad said as he walked Wrigley through the landscaped patch between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, near Peshtigo Court.

    "We've been told they are going to put up condos here," he said.

    In fact, it's something of a neighborhood joke, he said.

    "People say, `That's what we need around here. More condos,'" he said. "You can't look around without seeing more condo ads."

    Two residential high-rises are planned for the site, but a permanent park will be built between the new buildings, the city said.

    The volume of units coming on the market has other residents concerned.

    "Basic economics tell you if there is oversupply, it will depress prices," said Mitchell, the marketing consultant who lives on East Ohio. She also is an adjunct marketing professor at the University of Chicago.

    Others say there will be sufficient demand since the build-up will be gradual.

    "I do not see a glut with new buildings half-empty," said Gail Spreen, who is vice president of the Streeterville residents organization and who sells and rents residential properties in the area.

    Boomers drive boom

    Real estate analyst Steven Friedman, president of S.B. Friedman Co., said he does not expect prices to drop as a result of the building boom.

    "Strong Baby Boomer demographics are underlying the strength of the downtown housing market," he said.

    "Boomers are emptying out of the suburbs and moving downtown. They especially want larger and higher-quality units," Friedman said.

    The Streeterville organization does have some concerns about aesthetics.

    The group is encouraging developers "to create a contiguous feel, from one building to the next and from one block to the next, and to create as much green space as possible," said Spreen, who is chairman of the group's Neighbors Action Task Force, which works with developers.

    The group also is advocating for loading docks with adequate space, underground parking, and street-level facades with windows, and in some cases, retail.

    "We really don't want this to be like a concrete jungle," said Spreen.

    So far, the group has found developers responsive, she said.

    "I feel very optimistic," she said. "I think the developers appreciate what a great location this is, and that the projects will be there for the long-term."


    Glass and glitz are the new traditions in Streeterville

    By John Handley
    Tribune staff reporter

    Published July 10, 2005

    Glass is in. Concrete and brick are out.

    Modern is in. Traditional is out.

    Those are the guiding lights of Chicago's leading architects who are competing — informally — to design unique skyscrapers for a glitzy new neighborhood.

    Their entries in what they hope will be the best of 21st Century residential architecture soon will tower over the south end of Streeterville, the fast developing neighborhood between North Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier.

    Suddenly hot, Streeterville will sprout 13 new high-rise condos in the next two years, adding 3,500 residential units.

    None of the towers is ordinary. All are contemporary.

    Why the switch from the old-style buildings of concrete, brick and stone?

    "Developers have discovered that great design actually sells condos," explained David Hovey, president of Optima Inc., an architectural and development firm in Glencoe.

    "The surge in contemporary architecture means there is an alternative to bland buildings. It's a breath of fresh air," Hovey added.

    Helmut Jahn, internationally known architect of the James R. Thompson Center and the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport, has designed his first residential high-rise in Chicago for a Streeterville location.

    "It will have a total glass and metal skin. No exposed concrete outside. All the balconies are recessed and part of the curtain wall," said Jahn, describing his 41-story condo that will be built at 600 N. Fairbanks Ct. "This building will be different from what you normally see. I call it urbanistically sophisticated."

    The building will have a rounded corner at the intersection of Fairbanks and Ohio Street, and one side curves upward from the base.

    Jahn noted that there have been complaints about the architecture of some Chicago high-rise condos built in recent years. "In a hot market, you can sell anything. But it's fortunate now that some developers want to do something better," he said.

    Gary Rosenberg, president of Urban R2 Development, developer of 600 N. Fairbanks, said it will be "a work of art itself."

    Jahn is not as optimistic about all the other residential towers going up in Streeterville. "My expectations are not high. We'll have to wait until they are built."

    From residents' perspective, Hovey noted that buildings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows are more livable. "The views are better, and there is more light inside."

    "High-rise living is all about the views," said Robert Bistry of Built Form Architects, designer of Avenue East, the 27-story condo to be built at 160 E. Illinois St., directly behind the Intercontinental Hotel at 505 N. Michigan Ave. It will have only three sides with windows.

    "Architecturally, Avenue East will be a transition between the classic buildings on Michigan Avenue, including Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building, and the new high-rises in Streeterville. The east facade will be more glassy than the sides," Bistry said.

    "The refreshing, friendly architectural competition in Streeterville is good for the city," he added.

    "Most developers want a safe and predictable look, so less interesting architecture has been the result," said David Brininstool, partner in the Chicago architectural firm of Brininstool & Lynch, designer of 550 St. Clair, a 26-story condo to be built at St. Clair and Ohio Streets.

    "What's happening now," he said, "is that developers feel architecture has value in the marketplace."

    Another force affecting design comes from City Hall. "Mayor Daley didn't like contemporary architecture before. But now he's coming around," said 550 St. Clair developer Mark Sutherland, principal of Sutherland Pearsall Development.

    "There has been a definite change in climate at City Hall. Now they are encouraging contemporary design," Brininstool said. "Before, city employees were trying to read the mayor's mind. They thought he wanted red brick and limestone."

    "Now is one of the most exciting times in 25 years as an architect. Great work is possible again," Brininstool said.

    One key developer looks south for proof of the trend. "Millennium Park was one indication that the city had changed its thinking," said Daniel McLean, president of MCL Cos., builder of three Streeterville condo towers. "Now contemporary architecture is more accepted and main stream. The public has embraced the clean, modern look."

    McLean described the look of his latest Streeterville project, Park View, as "soaring glass." Designed by the architectural firm of Solomon Cordwell & Buenz, it will have 47 stories and 270 units and is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter.

    Why is Streeterville emerging as a showcase for modern architecture?

    Abe Lincoln started it all. He charged $350 in 1858 for legal work in forming Chicago Dock and Canal Trust, a real estate investment firm that became a major landowner in Streeterville.

    Then came "Cap" Streeter, who ran his ship aground in 1886 on a sandbar offshore of what is now Chicago Avenue and Superior Street. He decided to stay and gave the neighborhood its name.

    Though just east of Michigan Avenue, south Streeterville has been slow to develop. Gradually, the sea of street-level parking lots and industrial sites is giving way to more residential buildings.

    The latest condo explosion will fill in most of the vacant sites.

    "Streeterville's time has come," said 550 St. Clair developer Sutherland, who added that his firm is planning another residential project in the neighborhood.

    First occupancies at 550 are scheduled for the third quarter of 2007.

    He says he doesn't fear the competition of the other new buildings being launched at nearly the same time. "No, the momentum of all the projects will help us," he said.

    Real estate analyst Steven Friedman, president of S.B. Friedman Co., explained why Streeterville is suddenly hot. "There's land there." He added that the emergence of Chicago as a leisure destination has helped spark the popularity of city living.

    "Streeterville is the only place where there are vacant sites near the lake and river," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors. And, she foresees no threat to the launching of the Streeterville projects. Despite fears about the overheated housing market nationally, Chicago condo sales and traffic remain strong, according to Lissner.

    Not everyone is looking forward to more construction in Streeterville. The panoramic views of some existing residents will be blocked by the new buildings. These residents also fear the Manhattanization of the neighborhood, resulting in high-rise canyons towering over gridlocked traffic.

    Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd), who represents the area, stressed that the neighborhood was approved as a high-rise area in the 1980s, when Chicago Dock and Canal plans were approved.

    But McLean, a pioneer in Streeterville condos, sees a different outcome:

    "This is the most complete downtown neighborhood in the city," he said, adding that the new projects will increase foot traffic on Streeterville's streets and make it a real neighborhood.

    "Streeterville has the river, the lake, a new art gallery, sightseeing boat tours, grocery stores, two hotels, a movie theater, dozens of restaurants, a fountain on the river and views of the city's skyline from many buildings."

    As cranes start cropping up, it appears that "Cap" Streeter's new neighborhood has set sail, and no sandbars are likely to block its progress.


    New Streeterville towers

    CityFront Plaza: Three towers of 31, 65 and 40 stories. First tower: the Fairbanks, 31 stories; 281 units; prices, mid-$300,000s to $2 million-plus; developer, Centrum Properties Inc.; architect, DeStefano & Partners.

    Avenue East: 160 E. Illinois St.; 27 stories; 133 units; prices, mid-$200,000s to $1 million-plus; developer, Residential Homes of America; architect, Built Form Architects.

    600 N. Lake Shore Drive: Tower one, 40 stories, 154 units; tower two, 46 stories, 246 units; prices, from high $300,000s to $1.7 million; developer, Belgravia Group; architect, Pappageorge/Haymes.

    The Park View: McClurg Court and Illinois Street; 47 stories; 270 units; prices, from $425,900; developer, MCL Cos.; architect, Solomon Cordwell & Buenz & Associates.

    Second MCL tower: Peshtigo Court and Grand Avenue.

    Two rental towers: 300 block of East Ohio Street; 49 and 51 stories; 481 and 420 apartments, respectively; developer, Golub & Co.; architect, Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates.

    550 N. St. Clair: 26 stories, 112 units; prices, high $200,000s to nearly $2 million; developer, Sutherland Pearsall Development; architect, Brininstool & Lynch.

    600 N. Fairbanks: 41 stories; 224 units; prices, from $310,000, penthouses, $1.6 million to $1.9 million; developer, Urban R2 Development; architect, Murphy/Jahn Architects.

    150 E. Ontario: 51 stories, 160 units; developer, Monaco Development.

    Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune

  10. #10
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    This might be a precursor to what the finished product of the Goldman Sachs tower might look like. Same architect, similar height and shape:

    Throwing tradition a curve
    The Pritzkers' new Hyatt Center takes the edge off Chicago's relentless right angles

    By Blair Kamin
    Tribune architecture critic
    Published July 10, 2005

    Because it is Chicago's first post-9/11 skyscraper and its developers include the billionaire Pritzker family, which each year awards architecture's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the new Hyatt Center office building was bound to attract a high level of scrutiny.

    Would the Pritzkers produce a building that lives up to the prize's lofty rhetoric about contributions to humanity through the art of architecture?

    Would the skyscraper creatively balance security and openness or would it be a fortress, like the proposed new Freedom Tower at ground zero? That question took on fresh urgency Thursday after a series of explosions ripped through London's subway system and destroyed a double-decker bus, killing at least 37 people.

    The suavely curving, 49-story office building, it turns out, is very good, though not the show-stopping aesthetic statement some had hoped for and the Pritzkers themselves had planned before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted them to change their architect and ambitions in midstream.

    Designed by Henry Cobb of the New York City firm of Pei Cobb Freed, the Hyatt Center cleverly accepts the constraints of tight budget and security features and, in the manner of a skilled practitioner of judo, turns them to the advantage of the cityscape.

    The tower's curving walls of steel and glass lend it a distinct skyline presence, making it seem like a ship cutting through space. But it really excels at ground level, where its curves open its narrow, blocklong site to a small but artfully composed public plaza that has instantly established itself as a serene oasis amid the dense commercial canyon of South Wacker Drive.

    Joining with the open space at the bottom of an equally fine new skyscraper across Monroe Street, the 52-story 111 South Wacker Drive, the Hyatt Center forms an elegant, pedestrian-friendly gateway to the Loop.

    The design reveals how architects can deftly layer security features into their buildings rather than letting the need to fortify overrun the desire to beautify. And while its curves appear to be a heretical departure from the relentless right angles of Chicago's street grid and skyline, the skyscraper actually fits into the city's vaunted tradition of hard-nosed, but high-quality, commercial design.

    Located at 71 S. Wacker, two blocks north of Sears Tower and set to have its ceremonial opening July 19, the Hyatt Center originally was to have been designed by Lord Norman Foster, the Pritzker Prize-winning London architect renowned for his spectacular, ecologically conscious office buildings. It was to be a corporate headquarters with a lavish budget. The design was to make "a special shout," in the words of the Pritzkers' development partner, John W. Higgins, chairman of Higgins Development Partners of Chicago.

    Foster's plan called for a rectangular office block linked by bridges to a rectangular core for elevators and other services. A towering atrium would have soared between the offices and the service core.

    But on Sept. 12, 2001, Penny Pritzker, president of the Pritzker Realty Group, called Foster and told him the project was dead. The first Gulf War in 1990-91 had had severe economic consequences for the Pritzkers' Hyatt hotel chain, and "we knew this was worse," she said in an interview last week. The prospect of a major downturn in the hotel business made going forward with Foster's ambitious design unthinkable.

    In many respects, it is remarkable that the Hyatt Center turned out as well as it did, given what then transpired.

    The tower was, in effect, downgraded from a corporate headquarters to a speculative office building that would have to attract tenants and be built on a tight budget and a tight time frame. In response to 9/11, the building's security features were ratcheted up. And a new architect of less starpower was brought on -- Cobb, a distinguished elder statesman whose best-known work is Boston's John Hancock Tower, an abstract, mirror-glass high-rise that seems to disappear into the sky.

    Cobb seemed like a conservative choice. Yet his skill would be a decisive factor in making the project a success.

    Cobb flew to Chicago and walked the long, rectangular site, which, he quickly realized, would be hemmed in on the north by Helmut Jahn's 1 S. Wacker office building and on the south by the 111 S. Wacker project.

    No corner offices

    He also read a document, known as a program, that laid out the functional needs of a key prospective tenant, the law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. Critically, the lawyers weren't demanding corner offices, which inevitably lead to boxy or serrated exteriors.

    Cobb jumped on that detail, sketching a plan for a fish-shaped office tower that offered several advantages: It would have no corner offices, offer more expansive views than a conventional box, carve out room for the plaza and be architecturally distinctive. Mayer Brown and the developers bought the idea, though the curving building would cost slightly more than a conventional box.

    So did other key tenants, including IBM, Charter One and Goldman Sachs, the global investment banking, securities and investment management firm.

    While Cobb already had completed a curving office tower at La Defense in Paris and some wondered whether the Hyatt Center would be a retread, the soundness of Cobb's concept is apparent now that the tower is complete.

    The curve is the key to the building's skyline success. Without it, the tower's horizontal bands of stainless steel and glass would be a visual bore. Yet the curve energizes the bands, making them appear to sweep around the tower and making the tower itself seem as if it is steaming forward, like a great ship.

    Even though the Hyatt Center is less than half as tall as Sears, it nonetheless has an assertive skyline presence, its ship shape clearly visible from such everyday vantage points as the Kennedy Expressway, the boat cruise on the Chicago River and Grant Park.

    Equally important is the way the tower's curves end -- not in a rounded prow but in solid, angled steel-covered walls that suggest the mouth of a fish. Resolutely vertical, these end walls establish a simmering tension with the horizontality of the bands, giving the tower the right dose of Chicago toughness.

    In another well-handled detail, window frames are set flush with the facade, avoiding costly projections and enhancing the tower's continuity of line. "Let's face it," says Cobb, "if you're doing a budget building, keep it smooth. What makes it affordable is the fact that it doesn't have relief."

    The lone fault is in the surface of the stainless steel, which suffers in some places from the dimpled effect architects call "oil canning."

    Obligations of skyscrapers

    Cobb often speaks of the social obligations of skyscrapers, saying they should be good citizens, especially as they meet the street. His performance at ground level lives up to that challenge. He and Chicago landscape architect Peter Schaudt have deftly balanced security needs and a desire for openness in the interconnected spaces of the Hyatt Center's public plaza and lobby.

    Casual passersby may not realize that the planter boxes in the plaza are designed to keep a car- or truck-bomb away from the building's concrete-encased supporting columns. Yet the boxes do that double duty, an assignment they carry out far more gracefully than a graveyardlike row of bollards.

    The free-form curves of the planters sensitively extend the office tower's curving geometry. And the planters offer a good combination of perimeter sitting areas and intimate, circular nichelike spaces. Still, few people seem to be sitting on the bent-grass lawns that fill them.

    Inside, Cobb has turned the need for metal detectors to his advantage, shaping an entry sequence that actually improves upon the modernist convention of the wide-open, but spatially undernourished, office building lobby.

    Instead, he gives you this eventful sequence: You pass beneath low canopies on the Wacker and Franklin Street ends of the building and arrive in one of a pair of skylit, 50-foot-tall outer lobbies.

    From there, if you are an office worker or an approved visitor, you go through a low-ceilinged metal detector area before heading into another expansive space -- the tower's curving inner lobby, which extends the length of the building and is lined with a veil of bamboo trees and bubbling fountains as it leads to the elevators.

    While the public isn't allowed to venture into the serene inner lobby, it still gets the visual bonus of an indoor extension of the plaza's green space.

    The tower's office floors appear to be attractive work places, an impression confirmed by a Mayer, Brown lawyer who offered the following observations: Lawyers appreciate their new quarters' openness and light-filled quality. Uninterrupted, curving hallways encourage people to interact. Still, the building's curving shape hasn't really eliminated the hierarchy once created by corner offices. Senior lawyers took offices with the prime views, looking northeast toward the skyline and the lake.

    In other words, everything at the Hyatt Center is operating normally, or at least as normally as one can expect within the new realities of the post 9/11 world. While Cobb's tower may not set the architectural world on fire, it is nonetheless a distinguished contribution to the Chicago skyline and to the broader culture. Following the unveiling of the fortresslike Freedom Tower, it offers an alternative vision, one in which our fears -- and, thus, our buildings -- remain in proper proportion.

    - - -

    The Loop gets bold, inviting gateway

    The Spanish Revival Wrigley Building and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower shape a stylish entrance to North Michigan Avenue. Now the Hyatt Center and its equally appealing counterpart across Monroe Street, the new office building known as 111 South Wacker Drive, are putting a fresh spin on this tradition, using the abstract forms of modernism to usher into and out of the Loop commuters who use the nearby train stations.

    Even though the two buildings were designed in different manners by different architects for different developers -- and neither team communicated with the other -- they work surprisingly well together. Maybe the late, great Chicago modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had it right when he said, "Build, don't talk."

    Designed by Jim Goettsch of the Chicago firm of Lohan Caprile Goettsch and developed by the John Buck Co. of Chicago, the 52-story 111 S. Wacker is a muscular skyscraper that reveals its internal structure rather than concealing it, as the Hyatt Center does. Yet like the Hyatt Center, it makes a civilized, curvaceous clearing at ground level.

    The big move is structural: V-shaped diagonal columns, expressed in the facade's lower portions, transfer the building's loads to beefy columns that meet the ground. The spans between these columns measures a jaw-dropping 80 feet, providing a remarkable degree of openness even though the building's footprint occupies nearly the entire site.

    An oval-shaped lobby that slips beneath the building's boxy office and parking garage floors adds to the sense of spaciousness. It is wrapped in an extraordinarily transparent wall of cable-supported glass, almost making the distinction between inside and outside disappear. At the Hyatt Center, space flows around the building's curving, shiplike form. Here, space flows right through the lobby.

    The visual drama is enhanced by what passersby can glimpse inside -- a stepping, curved ceiling that echoes the contours of a parking garage ramp that passes directly above it. Perhaps the ceiling's accent lights are a bit bright. Yet one can forgive that fault when the lobby is seen in the broader picture of the show that 111 S. Wacker puts on at ground level and the amenities it places there, including granite-clad benches.

    111 S. Wacker and the Hyatt Center are as urbanistically responsible as the handsome pair of gateway towers that lead into the Loop at the eastern end of Monroe, the University Club at 76 E. Monroe and the Monroe Building at 104 S. Michigan Ave. Both were designed by Chicago architects Holabird & Roche in the early 20th Century, with complementary Gothic details and gabled roof silhouettes. At Wacker and Monroe, though, the gateway moves are at the bottom, not the top. It makes sense: Put the gateways at the base, right where pedestrians can see (and use) them.

    Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune

  11. #11
    The Dude Abides
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    NYC - Financial District


    Several projects from the Chicago-based architectural firm, Solomon Cordwell Buenz:

    340 East Randolph
    Chicago, Illinois

    In partnership with LR Development, SCB is designing a new multi-family residential condominium building on a parcel of the Lakeshore East development at 340 East Randolph in downtown Chicago. The 62 story clad building will contain approximately 325 units and 430 parking spaces. In addition to the standard amenities for a luxury residential building, this project takes full advantage of the site by offering a 25 yard pool and a 2 ½ story winter garden on the 25th floor overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan. Reinforcing a commitment to sustainability, the team is incorporating LEED™ standards into the design to plan for an eventual LEED™ 2.0 certification.


    Parkview Towers
    Chicago, Illinois

    In partnership with MCL Companies, SCB is designing the first phase of two buildings planned for the River East Development in Chicago. This new multi-family residential condominium building is a 48 story glass and copper building is located next to a new public park designed by Hargreaves and Associates. Below the parking is a 900 car parking garage. A second 28 story tower located at the eastern edge of the park will complete this spectacular new community.


    Legacy Tower
    Chicago, Illinois

    Rising 72 stories above Michigan Avenue, The Legacy will contain 360 luxury condominium units and 460 parking spaces. In addition, the project will integrate 41,000 sf of classroom space for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago into the lower floors. The project will retain the historic facade of Jeweler’s Row on Wabash Avenue.


    The Heritage at Millennium Park
    Chicago, Illinois

    Anchoring the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, the Heritage at Millennium Park forms an elegant pivot between the two street walls. The building's stepped form transitions gracefully from the smaller masses on Michigan Avenue to the larger masses of Randolph Street. The project includes 360 condominiums that capitalize on the views toward the new Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. It also contains 90,000sf of retail on the historic Wabash Avenue shopping corridor with restored facades of four historic buildings incorporated respectfully into the new structure.


    The Bristol
    Chicago, Illinois

    Slender and elegant, this 190-unit condominium building rises 42 stories above Chicago’s Gold Coast, just off the Magnificent Mile. SCB's design for the Bristol incorporates a unique double diamond structure that allows each of the six units per floor a corner view. Floor to ceiling windows flood each unit with natural light while providing spectacular cityscape views.


    The Sterling
    Chicago, Illinois

    In designing the Sterling, SCB created a building that satisfies the top priority of high-rise apartment dwellers: the view. The building’s northwest and southwest corners are curved, yielding a floor plan that provides the residents with broad, panoramic views over Chicago’s Loop and Downtown. In addition to 389 apartments, the 49-story building includes parking for 609 cars, 37,990 square feet of ground-floor retail space, tennis courts, an outdoor pool, fitness room, and a hospitality room. The Sterling is a modern structure with a “crisp” aesthetic that provides a notable gateway to Chicago’s Loop.

  12. #12
    The Dude Abides
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    More from SCB:

    50 East Chestnut
    Chicago, Illinois

    The corner of Rush and Chestnut in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood is the site of 50 East Chestnut, a luxury condominium featuring thirty-two full floor units. The residential units are composed as a slender tower, terminated at the top by two penthouse units and a health club. The tower is articulated as two vertical masses; a glazed, slightly curved form clad in glass, and a more solid form punctuated with windows. Expansive living spaces are organized across the curved south face of the building.


    Park Place
    Chicago, Illinois

    Located on a challenging site in the booming River North neighborhood of Chicago, Park Place's unique form was significantly influenced by the site, which is bounded by the Chicago River to the west, a freeway to the south, and a new city park to the north. SCB designed three different unit types: interlocked 2-story lofted condos that overlook the Chicago River adjacent to the city’s developing Riverwalk; larger two-story lofted units that face the public park; and tower units offering 360-degree views of Chicago’s skyline.


    345 East Ohio
    Chicago, Illinois

    Bounded by Ohio Street on the north, McClurg Court on the east, and Grand Avenue on the south, this proposed development is a two phase project consisting of two high rise residential towers with structured parking flanking a central private drive between Ohio Street and Grand Avenue. Ground level of both buildings will contain retail tenants, residential lobbies and auxiliary functions.


    Madison West 645
    Chicago, Illinois

    This multi-use complex is being developed by MR Properties and designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates. The site is prominently located between Madison and Monroe and Des Plaines and I-94. The current design calls for two office buildings totaling 1.2 - 1.5 million square feet with the ability to build in excess of 2.0 million square feet of office, retail, and hotel space. The site is 86,000 square feet and the visibility and views unparalleled in the city. The building is estimated to be completed in 2007.

  13. #13


    Wow. Don´t all of those residential buildings look like well made, serious architecture? Compare them with the average ticky-tack brick, balconied residential building in Manhattan...

  14. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio
    Wow. Don´t all of those residential buildings look like well made, serious architecture? Compare them with the average ticky-tack brick, balconied residential building in Manhattan...
    In renderings the designs look good for background buildings; we'll know if they're well made after they're up.

    New Yorkers like balconies and Chicago isn't nearly as in love with brick.

    If New York buildings cut corners in construction and detailing, could it be to recover the astronomical cost of just getting a building out of the ground? Those New York years of peliminary dickering and maneuvering seem compressed in Chicago's more development-friendly regulatory process; NIMBYs aren't paid as much heed.
    Last edited by ablarc; November 27th, 2005 at 11:28 AM.

  15. #15


    Ok, ok got ya....but I´m just wondering if it´s more about expectations and a higher level of taste?

    We are judging from mere renderings....and background buildings they may be .....but better these than a scar on the cityscape.

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