September 7, 2021
Coming in at 78 in the countdown of our Top 100 Projects is 1973’s 25-story, 619-room McCormick Inn hotel in Chicago, Illinois.
For this project, Epstein provided architectural design and mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineering services. The convention hotel features 40,000 square feet of public and exhibition space, as well as banquet seating for 1,500 people.
Built-on stilts utilizing Illinois Central Railroad air rights, this building was the first phase of the 17-acre McCormick City complex. The underside of the first concrete slab was 19 feet above the ground and the main entrance was at street level. Additionally, there were five levels below street level; three of which were for parking while two were set aside for meeting rooms. There were also two additional floors of public space that were located above street level.
The three meeting rooms located on the 2nd floor featured movable partitions that could seat up to 1,500 for dinner, and 10 small meeting rooms that opened up into one large room. A swimming pool and health club were also located on this level and food and entertainment services were provided by two restaurants and two lounges, one of which was on the 24th floor penthouse bar.
The hotel tower was constructed out of bronze glass curtain wall and rose from the brick enclosed base that housed the public areas.
The McCormick Inn was a fixture of the greater McCormick Place Campus until 1993, when it was demolished to make room for the Convention Center South Hall expansion, a project that was also led by Epstein.
As a side note, this project went through a number of design concepts in the decade prior to completion. A few of those studies are shown below, including one from the late 60's that has a great Vegas/South Beach vibe to it.