GP has completed 320 South Canal, Chicago’s healthiest office tower and the latest in a series by the same architect, developer and contractor team that focus on tenant health and wellness. Located across the street from Chicago Union Station with close connections to transit and the major expressways, the 51-story tower totals 1,740,000 gross square feet and includes a conference center, fitness center, restaurant, to-go market, branch bank, and a cocktail lounge in an adjacent structure, as well as parking for 324 cars/electric vehicles and 114 bicycles. The 2.2-acre site also features The Green at 320, one of the largest privately owned public parks in Chicago. The project was developed by Riverside Investment & Development with Convexity Properties and built by Clark Construction. The same team of GP, Riverside and Clark also delivered the city’s Bank of America Tower in 2020 and 150 North Riverside office building in 2017. All three 50-story towers are certified or precertified LEED Gold, WELL Platinum and WiredScore Platinum. Together, they total nearly 5 million square feet completed in the last 10 years.
Well before the Covid era, GP held a longstanding commitment to tenant health and wellness. At 320 South Canal, design strategies emphasized improving occupant wellbeing, with the building achieving LEED Gold certification, WELL Platinum precertification and WiredScore Platinum certification. The tower incorporates innovative technology to maximize occupant health, mitigate risk related to harmful environmental factors, and enhance tenant operational efficiency. Select features include advanced air monitoring and air filtration systems, bipolar air ionization, fresh air delivery that is six times the national code standard, a tenant engagement app that provides a real-time display of air quality metrics, antimicrobial fixtures, and touchless technology throughout, as well as access to outdoor terraces for fresh air and the many outdoor spaces and activities provided by The Green.
Designed as a stepped, three-tiered building, 320 South Canal is oriented in the north-south direction along the east side of its site. The east face of the building aligns with the property line, reinforcing the urban street wall defined by the historic Union Station headhouse on the adjacent block. The three setbacks reflect the internal organization of the building, with efficient, column-free floor plates that cater to a variety of tenants. Large terraces at each setback offer outdoor amenity spaces with expansive views of downtown. The building’s subtly folded façade creates an ever-changing texture that reinforces the verticality of the building. At street level, east and west façades express V-shaped structural transfers that open up the ground floor. The resulting effect is that the park becomes an integral part of the building, and the building serves as an extension of the park.
“It is our belief that how a building meets the ground is more important than how it meets the sky,” says James Goettsch, FAIA, chairman and co-design director of GP. “It is where people engage and interact with the building, not just the tenants but the general public.”
Early in the planning process, it was decided the tower should be taller with a smaller footprint, allowing most of the site to be dedicated as a park. The 1.5-acre park space, designed by GP in collaboration with landscape architect Confluence, is organized around a 10,000-square-foot oval-shaped lawn. A curved path defines the main pedestrian circulation from the northeast to southwest corners of the site, promoting connections between the station and the evolving West Loop. In addition to the central lawn, the park includes a variety of smaller spaces that, together, allow for a variety of outdoor activities, both programmed and spontaneous, as well as pop-up retail space at the north side—all set against the backdrop of the iconic Union Station headhouse.
“Within The Green, the traffic and noise of the city are tuned out, and the park becomes an urban oasis, says Joachim Schuessler, principal at GP. “It was important that The Green feels welcoming to building tenants as well as the general public, allowing people to enjoy the park through all times of the day and in all seasons.”
The 320 South Canal building is anchored by Montreal-based BMO Financial Group as their new U.S. headquarters. Other tenants include law firms Chapman & Cutler and Faegre Drinker, as well as recently signed tenants Skadden Arps and the National Futures Association, among others.