Jeanne Gang The Sky’s the Limit

The work of Chicago architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, has been previously highlighted in the FLOR catalog as well as here on the FLOR blog. Recognized for her innovative designs centered on sustainability, Aqua, her gorgeous, sculptural, 82 story Chicago skyscraper completed in 2010, is the subject of a new short documentary which aired recently on PBS. Please click here to watch the film. The film provides accessible insight into Gang’s practice and philosophy, as well the importance of her contribution to the architectural fabric of Chicago’s skyline, one of the greatest in the world. It’s a quick 13 minute flick. Take a peek. Additionally, on the architects website, there is a quick video offering a look at the creative story behind the design. I highly recommend watching the visual Conceptual Story, which follows Jeanne on her path to better understand the three dimensional opportunities unique to this project and site. A look into her process and the considerations which influenced her design. Jeanne Gang was recently named a fellow and awarded a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“Aqua Tower is one of few high-rises in the world that creates a community on its façade. With a hotel, apartments, condominiums, parking, offices, and one of Chicago’s largest green roofs, this multi-use tower demonstrates both architectural and technical achievements. Its outdoor terraces—which differ in shape from floor to floor based on criteria such as views, solar shading and dwelling size/type—create a strong connection to the outdoors and the city, as well as form the tower’s distinctive undulating appearance.”

Images found at Studio Gang’s Aqua webpage.

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The Greening of SOM’s Inland Steel Building Chicago

Chicago’s Inland Steel Building, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), was built in 1958. It is a recognizable icon, representative of commercial high rises of the post World War II era of modern architecture. In 2008, SOM was asked to renovate the stainless-steel Chicago Landmark into an office hotel. This concept “offers tenants a sustainable and fully outfitted office space, while still allowing for flexibility in office layout, size and lease duration.”
The project has faced obstacles preventing its progress over the last few years due to a tough economy and strict historic preservation restrictions. Because of the buildings landmark status, the process of implementing sustainable building methods used in new buildings, has proven difficult. Elements such as a double glazed curtain wall for energy efficiency were not approved. The project has prompted important conversation on the issue of preservation, landmark status and sustainable design.

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