The 150 North Riverside site is located prominently at the confluence of the three branches of the Chicago River and less than one block away from one of Chicago's busiest commuter train stations. With exposed railroad tracks on the west side of the site and the city requirement for a riverwalk on the east side, the remaining area on which to build was considered impossibly narrow, and the site sat undeveloped for decades. As most of the viable office sites were built over time, the developer decided that an unconventional approach was required for this prime parcel.
Utilizing a unique core-supported structure with a very small footprint at grade, the design resolves the site challenges and provides a 54-story Class A office tower with efficient, 45-foot column-free floor plates. Tenants and visitors enter through a dramatic, 90-foot-high lobby enclosed by a glass-fin wall hung from the structure above. The lobby features a 150-foot-long curated multimedia wall that showcases the work of local and other digital artists across 89 LED blades. The site-specific installation provides a focal point for the space while also addressing the transition between the opaque wall over the parking deck and the start of the glass-fin wall.
On the exterior, vertical mullions take cues from the river and undulate along the building’s wide east and west facades to help activate them with an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow. The narrow north and south faces are divided into three vertical planes that accentuate the slenderness of the tower, with the center plane recessed to create additional corner offices. The very condensed lobby and elevator cores allow the majority of the two-acre site—more than 75%—to be a landscaped public park with pedestrian pathways overlooking the river. Building amenity spaces include a restaurant, bar, fitness center and conference center—all with water views.
Certified LEED Gold, the project addresses several sustainable initiatives as it connects and revitalizes a critical downtown parcel, adding a distinct office tower and active new urban spaces for the city.
Key sustainable, technological, and innovative strategies of 150 North Riverside include:
• The concrete core is 752 feet tall and 39 feet wide, creating an aspect ratio of nearly 20:1—one of the thinnest structures for any high-rise building ever.
• First-ever application of a 12-tank tuned liquid mass damper (TLMD) at the tower’s top to manage both building drift and acceleration. With a total of 160,000 gallons of water, the TLMD also provides city-approved fire protection storage tanks to supply the building’s sprinkler system, a creative dual-purpose that is a Chicago first.
• The 16 sloping columns at the cantilevers feature the largest rolled steel shapes ever used in a high-rise building in the U.S. The shapes are 43” deep and weigh 925 pounds per foot.
• First use of 70 ksi structural steel—the strongest of its kind—in the U.S., saving construction costs and resulting in smaller column sizes/weight.
• First Chicago Class A office building certified both Wired Platinum and LEED Gold.
Goettsch Partners (GP) is an architecture firm with a global perspective. Based in Chicago, with additional offices in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, the firm brings a singular approach to design that combines seasoned experience with a passion for exploration and innovation. Completed projects span five continents and represent a diverse range of types and sizes. Every project design begins with multiple concepts that are evaluated for intrinsic value, constructability and environmental impact. GP projects share a consistent visual language of bold clarity that celebrates highly crafted technical solutions delivering optimal performance.