Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.
Kyle Rottet of Rottet Studio spoke with us about the design intent and process for this project.
Describe this project in one word.
How does this project demonstrate design impact?
The progression from elevator lobby to reception to conference rooms and beyond is enhanced by a series of articulated details to push and pull you from one point to another. Within these details are metaphors to reflect the great city of Chicago. Viewed as a composition, the project is representative of a vernacular both personal and aesthetically pleasing.
Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.
Conceptually, the space needed to represent the community and its inhabitants. Chicago’s history is steeped in public art and architecture and we wanted our project design to reflect this. Meeting the client’s needs for a functional program required thoughtful planning to include elements which are typically configured in rectangular spaces. The building is elliptical which presents a design challenge but ultimately we blurred the lines between rectilinear and circular shapes. Our clients always take the design journey with us and we are fortunate this client has a passion for design and maintains trust in the work we do.
Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.
From a design perspective, it’s a challenge to work in an elliptical -shaped building – especially when most of your world runs parallel and perpendicular. However, we found a way to break up the floor plate, which allowed for a functional client program and maintained the integrity of the buildings shape. We installed light fixtures and carpet patterns that are non directional to de-emphasize the corridors, which run in a circular geometry. This allows a seamless finish transition between corridor to private office.
From a construction perspective, the challenge is always keeping all consultants and trades on the same page with you. This project team is one of the best that I have ever worked with. Everyone involved provided their personal contributions to make the project successful. We simply had a great team that worked very well together. Communication and recognition of contribution is key!
On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?
This project brings the Chicago skyline into a 360 degree panorama for all end-users to enjoy. It tears down the drywall barrier between attorneys who sit in perimeter offices and those who sit within the inner core areas and it is replaced with a continuous glazing partition. Natural light spills through the office corridors and allows for visual integration and communication among junior attorneys and staff which fosters a more collaborative and productive environment for everyone. Client Service Specialist (a more progressive catch phrase for “Secretaries”) anchor the space at the two short ends of the ellipse and create hubs for attorney assistance. These hubs foster more productive, centralized work environments thanks to technology and the way we communicate today.