October 21, 2021
Coming in at no. 59 in our Top 100 Projects countdown is the Sweetheart Cup office and manufacturing facility in Chicago, Illinois, initially completed in 1968.
Sweetheart was actually a longstanding client of Epstein’s; in fact, one of our very first projects was for Sweetheart in 1922 within their manufacturing space located along South Ashland Avenue. The building we are highlighting today was located at 7575 South Kostner and was initially 457,000-square-feet and would, after two subsequent Epstein-designed expansions completed in the mid-70s, encompass over 900,000 square feet! This complex was used by Sweetheart to manufacture and distribute their variety of signature plastic cups, lids and straws.
Sweetheart’s 26,500-square-foot office featured the use of charcoal brown brick, which was used to set off the exposed concrete aggregate frames around the exterior sash. Additionally, there was interior landscaped open court (visible in the aerial), which helped lend spaciousness for the office personnel. Another interesting design feature was seen in the unique personal tastes of Sweetheart’s president, Henry Shapiro, who had our interiors group detail his office in a Colonial Williamsburg tradition using wormy chestnut panels, teak inlaid flooring and a marble fireplace.
The production and warehouse components to Sweetheart were also customized. The warehouse featured a rail spur as well as a completely enclosed truck concourse, which was the hub for all of Sweetheart’s shipping and receiving. This space featured a 24’ clear height, allowing Sweetheart to use equally high product stacking systems of finished goods and maximize their storage footprint. The exterior façade of the warehouse was comprised of insulated metal panels with charcoal accent strops and eaves, matching the face brick base of the office entrance.