Image courtesy of Evgeny Moerman;
Chicago Skyline

5 Fresh, New Projects in the Windy City

Jan. 11, 2023
From the city’s healthiest office tower to a hopping new amenity hub, an affordable luxury hotel and more, these five new projects are a breath of fresh air in the Windy City.

Chicago is known for its iconic architecture and wide array of eateries and attractions that keep people coming back year after year. For locals and tourists alike, the following five recently opened projects are another example of why Chi-town continues to be a favorite destination for work or play.

1. citizenM Chicago Downtown | 300 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601

citizenM, a pioneer of affordable luxury hotels, recently opened its first property in Downtown Chicago. The newly constructed, 280-room hotel sits within the 47-story tower which also includes 289 residential units and 25,000 square feet of retail space. To mark citizenM’s arrival, Chicago native Nina Chanel Abney was commissioned to transform the building’s exterior 2,000-square-foot terrace and entrance walls into a gigantic abstract and vibrant Chi-town tribute. The property was designed by Chicago’s bKL, in collaboration with citizenM’s long standing architecture partner Concrete to offer a streamlined, luxury experience, including high-tech amenities, friendly and genuine service, comfortable guest rooms, and spacious and inviting living areas filled with contemporary art and iconic furnishings such as Vitra, citizenM’s furniture partner. citizenM Chicago Downtown features a 24/7 gym and three societyM meeting rooms, available for half and full day hires to both guests and the public, offering unlimited coffee to let ideas flow.

2. United Airlines Amenity Hub | 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Located on the 4th & 5th floors of the iconic Willis Tower, The United Airlines Amenity Hub is a 40,000-square-foot destination designed by Gensler to connect the client’s 3,500 employees and unite them to their mission. Upon arrival to the space, the elevator lobby evokes the notion of taking flight with concrete floors, aerodynamic architecture and UNITED letters salvaged from an old LAX hangar. Artifacts, airplane parts, and aeronautical materials are strategically integrated into the design to celebrate the (air)craft that facilitates so many journeys. Once an engine inlet is now an Instagrammable moment to drive engagement. Conference room walls are clad in technical drawings illustrating all the parts and pieces of United’s planes. Custom signage aimed to educate about and honor resiliency efforts abounds, highlight materials, technology and design strategies that were used in the LEED Silver space, encouraging employees to move thoughtfully throughout the Hub and the world.

3. 320 South Canal Building | 320 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606

Global architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) recently completed 320 South Canal, billed as Chicago’s healthiest office tower that focus on tenant health and wellness. The 51-story tower totals 1,740,000 gross square feet and includes a conference center, fitness center, restaurant, to-go market, branch bank and a cocktail lounge in an adjacent structure, as well as parking for 324 cars/electric vehicles and 114 bicycles. Design strategies emphasized improving occupant wellbeing, with the building achieving LEED Gold certification, WELL Platinum precertification and WiredScore Platinum certification. Select features include advanced air monitoring and air filtration systems, bipolar air ionization, fresh air delivery that is six times the national code standard, a tenant engagement app that provides a real-time display of air quality metrics, antimicrobial fixtures, and touchless technology throughout, as well as access to outdoor terraces for fresh air and the many outdoor spaces and activities provided by The Green.

4. TAG—The Aspen Group | 1040 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will recently unveiled its design of the newly opened, 145,000-square-foot headquarters for TAG—The Aspen Group’s new headquarters in Chicago’s vibrant Fulton Market. The space features a range of workspaces and communal space, access to natural light, city views and outdoor terraces and a deep, rich blue color scheme underscore TAG’s commitment to building a unified culture for the network of more than 1,200 healthcare offices it supports across the country. Natural lighting from floor to ceiling windows looking south across the city is enhanced by a swirling, thin sculpture of light designed to resemble dental floss. Landscaped outdoor terraces provide access to fresh air and additional opportunities to relax. The open offices of the corporate workspace on separate floors provide a flexible range of working options. Corporate offices on the top floor include glass-walled private spaces and a stunning conference room featuring an undulating wood ceiling and opening to its own outdoor terrace and inspirational view of the Chicago skyline.

5. Kimball International | 318 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Debuting in the spring of 2023, Kimball International will be relocating to a full-floor, 13,000-square-foot showroom located at 318 N. Carpenter Street, in which it will showcase its five workplace, education and health brands: Kimball, National, Etc., Interwoven and Poppin. Located in the heart of the Fulton Market District, the new showroom features a balcony area with an open-air, wrap-around outdoor terrace and full-height windows that maximize daylight and city views. With plans to become WELL certified, this space will proactively support the health and wellness of those that visit and work in the showroom. Continuing a long-standing relationship, Kimball International selected Eastlake Studio as its partner to design and develop this new showroom space that will serve as an experiential design destination to Chicago’s growing creative hub.

About the Author

Robert Nieminen | Chief Content Director

Robert Nieminen is the Chief Content Director of Architectural Products, BUILDINGS and i+s, sister publications of Smart Buildings Technology. He is an award-winning writer with more than 20 years of experience reporting on the architecture and design industry.

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