The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s annual ‘Open House Chicago,’ where architecturally ‘significant and interesting buildings’ are made available to the general public, takes place this coming weekend (October 14 and 15th), and features multiple Epstein designed and/or engineered buildings including Ignite Glass Studios, Testa Produce, OneEleven, McCormick Place West and 200 S. Michigan. Last year over 100,000 people took part in this event and with over 200 sites opening up for this year’s version, attendance is sure to dramatically increase.
Ignite Glass Studios, which won a Distinguished Building and Divine Detail Award in 2015 from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, saw Epstein’s architects and engineers renovate a 70's era industrial building into a 15,000 square foot glass blowing studio. Ignite also features classrooms, an art gallery, and a one-of-a-kind assembly/event space located at 401 N. Armour in Chicago’s West Loop.
The Testa Produce Headquarters and Distribution Center is one of the most ‘green’ industrial facilities of its kind and the first LEED-NC Platinum Refrigerated Distribution Facility. Testa, which is located at 4555 South Racine Avenue, features numerous Epstein developed sustainable design & engineering strategies including incorporating a 238-foot-tall wind turbine that provides power to the facility, and a variety of landscape, solar and water conservation features.
OneEleven is a high-rise residential building located at 111 W. Wacker which won a 2015 AIA Chicago Chapter Distinguished Building Award. For this project, Epstein worked with the New York-based design architect, Handel Architects, in modifying an existing half-built structure and creating a new image for this eye-catching 60-story building.
McCormick Place West Green Roof, a project in located at 301 East Cermak Road, involved Epstein leading a 25-member design and engineering team for a 2,385,077 square foot addition to the McCormick Place Convention Center. The addition features a 96,000 square foot green roof that retains about 77,812 gallons of stormwater that would otherwise flow into Lake Michigan. Nearly forty thousand plants have been used to green approximately 15 percent of McCormick Place’s nearly 1 million sf rooftop. The McCormick green roof is the second largest in the Chicago and one of the largest “modular” green roofs in the world.
Lastly, 200 S. Michigan, is a modernist 22-story, 350,000 square foot high-rise office building designed by Epstein that was built in 1958 and helped introduce the ‘International’ style of architecture to Chicago. This new ‘International’ style got its name from an architectural exhibit curated by Phillip Johnson at the Museum of Modern Art in New York which featured the work of Gropius, Mies and Corbusier. This ‘International’ style embraced technology, thereby allowing a steel-framed building to reach heights unheard of with masonry structures. These ‘International’ buildings also featured square or rectangular footprints, a simple cubic form, windows running in broken horizontal rows forming a grid and façade 90 degree angles. 200 S. Michigan was also one of the first buildings in Chicago to employ true curtainwall construction and also the first on Michigan Avenue to break away from the limestone and bronze look, using blue porcelain enamel & glass instead.
For a full list of the buildings participating in Open House Chicago & how to register please visit the CAF’s website for details at - https://openhousechicago.org/