Developers of the state-of-the-art 150 N Riverside office building in Chicago’s West Loop had one goal in mind—to be the best. “We wanted to quite literally build the absolute best building not only in the city of Chicago but in the country,” says Tony Scacco, executive vice president of Riverside Investment & Development, developer of the LEED Gold property.
They had their work cut out for them. The two-acre property, while one of the most sought after in Chicago, posed many challenges. To the east of the property is the Chicago River, which comes with a requirement for a 30-foot wide river walk, and to the west are the exposed rails for seven active train lines coming into the busiest commuter station in the city, Union Station.
Developers worked with architects at Goettsch Partners to design a high-tech, sustainable, core-supported building with a narrow footprint to fit the site. Only 25% of the site is occupied by enclosed structure. “It is a building in a park,” says Joachim Schuessler, design principal at Goettsch Partners. “Its iconic shape and urban experience is not just a feat for the building but for the city at large.”
The 54-story building has 1.25 million rentable square feet, an extensive green roof system, and some of the most advanced technology systems available. It has a destination dispatch elevator system, unlike any in Chicago, Scacco says. 150 N Riverside also has a state-of-the-art fiber-optic system for tenants and carrier-neutral vaults to greatly increase multiple provider presence. “We wanted to substantially reduce the build cost for tenants as well as increase provider competition in the building to result in lower costs to the tenants when procuring telecommunication service,” Scacco says. Currently there are 12 telecommunication providers onsite, with room for up to 20.
The building has Bluetooth-enabled access control and security, so tenants can use their mobile devices to get in and out. Because of its proximity to the train station, the building was constructed with the highest performing acoustically enhanced glass available. And Scacco says its shape was achieved by using a structural steel that has never been used before on the Western Hemisphere.
The 150 N Riverside office has fully integrated building management systems that are unique to the property, allowing for all systems to be remotely controlled, and 360 feedback that gives building managers the ability to control and respond to utility performance outputs as efficiently as possible. “What is really interesting about technology infrastructure is you only notice it by its omission,” Scacco says. “What we are really trying to do is provide enhancements to our tenants and their employees’ day-to-day lives without them noticing it.”
A Building in a Park
To make tenants and employees even happier, secure Wi-Fi is available throughout the property—even in the acre-and-a-half of park space outside. Meetings don’t have to be held at a desk or in an conference room; the building is designed so employees can work anywhere, including the on-site restaurant and fitness areas. “We understand people spend a lot of time at the office and wanted to support a comprehensive work-life balance,” Scacco says.
While it’s common for architects to focus on how the building meets the sky, Schuessler and his partners put much of their focus on how the Riverside building meets the ground. “It is important that we make the interior and exterior come together in some way—for them to interconnect and intermingle,” he says. “We feel, especially in urban environments, that it is important for there to be public and private spaces and for the public spaces to activate the private space. It makes it much more interesting.”
The transparent, glass fin hung walls, described by Schuessler as a “shower curtain made of glass,” that make up the structure’s lobby are one of the tallest in North America, at 77 feet. The walls allow people passing by to see into the lobby, and those in the building can take in the river view. You’ll also find various art installations in the lobby, adding to the awe.