Deborah Wilk -- Interior Design, 11/1/2012 2:00:00 AM
| Project Name: Baker & McKenzie's |
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Firm: Goettsch Partners
Square Feet: 258,000
Put that down to a surfeit of space and light. Soaring window walls, offering views of the sky and lake Michigan, allow in enough daylight to help the project earn LEED Gold certification. The offices span eight of 24 floors added in 2010 to an existing 33-story tower—a vertical extension that was fully planned by the original building’s architects: GP. This circumstance allowed the current design team to take a number of liberties with the structure, such as replacing solid drywall panels in some atrium walls with glass and cladding exposed diagonal-cross steel beams with drywall.
The penchant for transparency extends to the interior, where glass-walled conference rooms surround the lobby, both at marble-floor level and above, as if suspended from the double-height ceiling. The subtle luxury of Venetian plaster on conference-room exteriors, stainless steel on round columns, and elm paneling on walls and ceilings contribute a sense of calm in the public areas.
When privacy is necessary, glass is frosted (sometimes electronically at the flick of a switch) or coated, like the partitions enclosing case rooms, where piles of discovery documents can live for months. The partitions are also demountable, making them completely mobile (as are all workstations) to accommodate changes in staffing needs—allowing moves as smoothly unobtrusive as that flowing water in the lobby.
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