News / 7.22.15

Throwback Thursday – Sweetheart Cup

Massive building that produced a variety of signature plastic cups, lids and straws

Today, our weekly Throwback Thursday trip through the Epstein archives takes us back to July 1968 for the opening of the first phase of a new office and manufacturing facility for Sweetheart Cup in Chicago, Illinois. Sweetheart was actually a long-standing client of Epstein’s, in fact, one of our 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 would 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.

(Aerial view showing the completion of the 2nd phase bringing, eventually in the mid-70s their would be one more in-fill addition bringing the total square footage of this complex to 900,000 sf!)

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 of spaciousness for the office personnel. Another interesting design feature of office 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 but, thankfully, not in Colonial traditions! The warehouse featured a rail spur as well as completely enclosed truck concourse which was the hub for all of Sweetheart’s shipping and receiving. This space featured a 24’ clear height which allowed 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 which matched the face brick base of the office entrance.

This facility was fully expanded to its planned 900,000 square feet in the mid-70s and this building helped Sweetheart become the largest consumer packaging company in the world. Sweetheart would eventually be sold to competitor Solo Cup in 2004 and Solo is now using this facility to produce cups and containers under the Dart Container Corporation.