Chicago, Illinois, USA
931,000 square feet / 86,000 square meters
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects was first tasked as Master Planners of a 2-million-square-foot, multi-use project. Conceived as a development to revitalize a historically significant site in Chicago, the site will comprise three towers, a 2.3-acre public park, and a 1,000-foot-long river walk. The Wolf Point redevelopment is importantly branded and identified with the revitalization of the neighborhood.
The project includes a signature 80-story mixed-use tower, a 65-story residential tower to the east, and a 45-to-50-story residential tower to the west, each connected to the greater community by the Chicago Riverwalk initiative. The four-acre peninsula at the tip of where the north and south branches of the Chicago River converge was the first commercial settlement in the early 19th century. This Y-shaped fork is a widely recognized symbol in Chicago, memorialized in its municipal flags and seals.
Wolf Point East will contain 700 rental units, 35,000 square feet of amenities, and 4,000 square feet of retail at street level. Oriented east-west, the rectangular massing of the building is articulated by several upper-level setbacks. Balancing solidity and transparency, the curtain walls incorporate glass, metal, and stone.
Glass-enclosed lobbies that expand 90 feet will connect the building to its green surroundings. The ground floor’s area is less than half that of the upper levels, allowing the building to “touch the ground lightly” as the landscape flows under and wraps around the base.
The South Tower will be a 813 -foot high mixed-use tower with 1.28 million square feet of office space. As the high-rise anchor of the complex, its stepped form is classic and iconic against the urban skyline. Oriented north-south, the rectangular massing and curtain wall articulation shares similarities with the East Tower, as does the treatment of the lower amenity levels. Facing the convergence of the Chicago River, the South Tower’s base steps down to engage the river front and with an urban scaled public plaza at the Riverwalk.
Recalling the site’s history as a 19th century trading post and the ships that once docked there, the tower’s contoured exterior walls are shell-like enclosures reminiscent of a set of sails. These stepped and faceted enclosures taper at the top and bottom of the building.
The 2.3-acre public park, planted with native trees, flowers and grasses, will include gardens and stepped lawns for seating. Below the park, a four-level parking garage is hidden from view.