Two projects designed by Goettsch Partners (GP) were presented 2014 AIA Chicago awards at the 59th Annual Design Excellence Awards, held October 24 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. The iconic Wrigley Building received the Distinguished Building Award for its complete renovation and restoration and the Soochow Securities Headquarters building, located in the city of Suzhou, China, was presented the Divine Detail Award.
Originally designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the Wrigley Building is one of downtown Chicago’s most recognized architectural icons, dating to the 1920s. The 94 year old building was fully modernized in terms of services and window replacement without compromising the historical quality of the architecture. One significant effort was the removal of the screen wall between the two towers at ground level. The 1920 plan for the building had anticipated an upper-level street that would run between the towers. Although this street was never built, the removal of the glazed screen and the 1950s connecting walkways accomplished the 1920s vision of creating an open passage and plaza. Work on the plaza itself was extensive. The entire 1950s-era plaza was demolished and rebuilt, defining a distinguished, large open space that presents an inviting outdoor amenity and caters to prospective retailers and restaurants. The bronze storefronts that are featured on the Michigan Avenue frontage were also extended west along the plaza.
Inside the towers, major public areas were also renovated. The previously remodeled low lobby ceilings were removed and replaced with timeless interpretations of the original designs, restoring original lighting, entry doors and metals. On the upper floors, work involved replacing over 2,000 windows, creating a fully sprinklered building, upgrading all mechanical systems, and renovating all bathrooms and public corridors.
Soochow Securities, the winner of the Divine Detail Award, is positioned along the western edge of the Jinji Lake in Suzhou Industrial Park and is designed as a modern gateway to the city centre. The triangular massing responds contextually to views of the city and lake, the orientation of the site and the diagonally approaching major artery. The triangular form is regarded as a balanced and stable form in China, an image well suited to a stock exchange headquarters.
The building enclosure is primarily clad in stone and glass curtainwall and incorporates a shingled facade to provide passive shading during the summer months. In order to maintain a clean and uniform exterior enclosure, the required operable window units were hidden and integrated into the shingled façade. This allowed for the occupants to open the operable units without affecting the exterior aesthetic and reinforced the concept that the function of the building would relate to its form. The architects strived to achieve a balance between mechanical and temperature comfort and user flexibility while maintaining the original uniform exterior aesthetic.