HUB 116

Earlier this year I wrote about some low-rise projects in Chicago's River North area. One of those projects was the tripartite goofiness of HUB 116, an office/gallery/retail project at, yep, 116 West Hubbard.

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Well, walking by it the other day on the way to work, I noticed that the goofiness has increased from the rendering above to the soon-to-be-final product below.

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What was initially a very flat building has gained some depth via applied awnings at each window. These awnings, like the rest of the building, angle themselves in relation to the exterior wall. I like to think that there's some practical reason for this decision, beyond mere aesthetics, like shielding the office spaces from the late afternoon sun. But who knows.

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Also, the ground floor retail has a more substantial frame, which I think is better than the rendering, even though there still exists some discontinuity between the base and middle portion.

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What the awnings accomplish more than anything is to elevate the presence of the building from down the street. This view looks west from where it makes the most impact, as the floor plan angles back from west to east. It kinda reminds me of Frank Gehry's Fred & Ginger building in Prague. Additionally, these angled awnings make the flat exterior wall appear to ripple, an illusion that was probably unexpected.

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  1. truly horrible. poor River North. scarred with growing highrises, the same fate that awaits the west loop. what could have been nicely scaled low rise neighborhhod becomes vertical crappy boxes with parking. Daley sure does love those taxes (and those big fat envelopes from developers)

  2. Or Daley wants to see an actual city, not Naperville or Homer Glen suburban, cookie-cutter brick garbage that NIMBY's like.

  3. I does have some good qualities to it especially on the street/human level. But some of the details yes are very PA ala 1980

  4. I find the surface tension created by the window awnings somewhat reminiscent of Gehry's Stata Center at MIT. In this case though the effect gives the impression of trained eyelets sleepily gazing at the activity below, slightly voyeuristic, but engaged and almost humorous - I would imagine especially so at night. I share your point about the discontinuity, and I'm sure I don't entirely understand the gesture of the top void. I'd like to think the Emental ceiling diverts rain water for a garden or HVAC cistern.

    Must have been interesting to watch the roof constructed...


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