Chicago, IL, United States
The provocative design for 655 W. Madison has been unveiled after its successful presentation to the City of Chicago’s Committee on Design this past week. Aiming to challenge the norms of workplace design and how an office can operate in a post covid setting, the building will place itself as one of the most high-tech, high-performance, and healthy buildings that Chicago has seen in over a decade.
Located on the western edge of downtown Chicago and adjacent to the bustling Kennedy expressway, the building enjoys a prominent environmental setting with passerby views from all directions. Coupled with easy access to public transportation, bike lane routes and the infamous Chicago River, the site resides within one of the most optimal locations in all of Chicago. Within short walking distance to several world-renowned restaurants and attractions nearby, the 655 W Madison project doesn’t just offer its tenants interior comfortability, but also exterior accessibility to the City of Chicago.
Inside, the high-rise development includes 1.5 million square feet of office space residing within the 39-story tower located on the Madison Street side and 29-story tower on the Monroe Street side. Additionally, the office towers explore the usage of varying floor plate sizes to accommodate companies with large, mid, and small employee counts. Offering flexibility for companies of all sizes and ages. The design layout, which draws inspiration from both the Burnham Plan and cartesian grid of the city, is a direct acknowledgment to famous Chicago planners of the past.
The proposed development also represents a new era in office buildings within the City of Chicago; an era that responds directly to a post-pandemic environment. With each office floor having a dedicated fresh air supply intake system to minimize the air quality mixing with other floors within the building. To achieve this, the building offers a decentralized system with a dedicated air handling unit provided to each floor that filters recirculated air within the space and provides tenants with some of the highest air qualities of any working environment. Even the tower façade has been designed to be integrated within this fresh air intake system while simultaneously delivering quality appeal to the city skyline in celebration of this unique feature.
The project’s two-tower massing allows for a carved out a void between the office tower buildings and staggers the setbacks between them to allow light and air to the open podium rooftop. The horizontal orientation of the floor plates, accentuated with enlarged spandrels, are designed in such a manner that compliments the separation of the towers visually as the towers rise from the podium. This podium rooftop will be programmed as a one-acre elevated park with connections to both towers from the rooftop level. The elevated park will also provide both incredible views of the city skyline and expansive outdoor green space amenities to enhance the workplace experience for building tenants. The one-acre park will also include its own amenity spaces featuring a walking path, local plantings, intimate outdoor spaces, and lookout points located at the view corridors.
Programmatically, the building is one of the most amenity-abundant office buildings in the City of Chicago, with ground floor retail, fine dining restaurants, covered porte-cochere, enclosed parking garage, conference center, co-working space, wellness, fitness center, pre-function lounge and several floors throughout the building solely dedicated to workplace amenities. The entire building has been designed with the workplace of the future in mind.
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