On Jan. 15, 2017, a 100-year-old “visual wound” was healed on a vacant lot in Chicago’s burgeoning West Loop.
Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA), in collaboration with the design team, had successfully erected a 54-story office building with the smallest of footprints, on a site they transformed from barren to beautiful.
150 North Riverside, in Chicago, has been honored by ASCE as a finalist for the 2019 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement award, the Society’s preeminent project honor.
All five finalists will be honored at ASCE’s 2019 OPAL Gala, March 14, in Arlington, VA, with the OCEA winner revealed at the end of the event.
Glacial and glimmering, the new “Windy City” edifice outreaches expectation. Yet the building’s unique design of tapering lines was driven not by aesthetics, but by necessity.
With the employment of never-done-before technical innovations and engineering firsts, decades of failed attempts at development were overcome. The team’s fashioning of a razor-thin, concrete core structural system resulted in a footprint three times skinnier than that of a typical office building, and twin balancing brackets on two sides of the tower’s core essentially means the tower rests on a 39-foot base. Sloping columns at the brackets feature the largest rolled steel sections in use in a U.S. high-rise, employing material which is 30 percent stronger than conventional steel. Twelve tanks at the top of the building contain 700 tons of water to minimize sway.
The site itself – situated between the Chicago River and seven active railroad tracks – is now a 1.5-acre public park where office workers dine outside, joggers traverse an enhanced Riverwalk, and tourists stop to take pictures. A precast, prestressed concrete lid atop the nearby rail tracks provides space for an amphitheater, pedestrian pathways, and retail venues. In all of the project’s phases, Amtrak trains were kept moving.
The Building Team, which also included general contractor Clark Construction Group and architect Goettsch Partners, introduced bolted connections rather than welded ones in the steel members, thereby trimming 60,000 hours in labor and $3 million in costs.
“We don’t build monuments to ourselves,” said Anthony Scacco, executive vice president of owner Riverside Investment & Development. “We build buildings that address the business needs of our tenants, specifically floor-plate efficiency, amenities, technology, and building infrastructure.”
150 North Riverside, unique in so many ways, has quickly taken its place in the Chicago skyline. Among Engineering News-Record’s 2017 Best Projects, it was named Midwest Project of the Year.