300 East Randolph

Chicago, Illinois, USA

The 300 East Randolph building is a two-phased, vertically expanded office tower located in downtown Chicago at the north end of Grant Park. The facility primarily serves as the headquarters for Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois division.

After relocating four times over a 20-year period due to continuous growth, HCSC realized it needed a plan to address the company’s immediate space needs as well as accommodate anticipated future growth—without another move. The design team responded with an office tower that could be expanded vertically in phases.

Phase one provides 1,430,000 square feet of space in 33 stories, designed to accommodate 4,500 people in an open-office environment, along with a conference and training center and a 900-seat cafeteria. In phase one, the initial foundations and structure were planned, designed and constructed to support the fully expanded building; additional riser space was also provided in order to accommodate independent mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for the expansion floors.

Phase two, finished more than a decade after phase one, vertically completes the building with 24 additional stories and 920,000 square feet of space, including a mid-building conference center added on floor 30, providing necessary additional meeting and training space; a satellite cafeteria on floors 41 and 42; a fitness and wellness center; various conference and training facilities; a central chilled-water storage and distribution plant; and a green roof.

The fundamental mechanism for the expansion is an atrium along the north side of the building composed of five 40- by 30-foot open structural bays. Each of the two outer bays holds an eight-car elevator bank to service phase one. In phase two, an additional eight-car elevator bank is located in each of the two inner bays for the vertical expansion. The center bay is reserved for an open stair to facilitate inter-floor circulation, and every three floors, the center bay is fully built out and utilized for meeting space. This unique center-bay configuration also helps establish both a visual and physical connectivity within the company.