CCR Issue 9

Page 94

A NEW DAY unusual sizes and potential issues with bowing. We also needed to determine the correct opacity for backlighting.” Bendheim manufactured more than 2,700 square feet of customized architectural glass materials for the project. Each of the various glass types achieved distinct architectural objectives. Bendheim’s Gothic glass in a hammered texture softens up partition walls, dividing the space to create unique and more intimate rooms. Houdini glass, one of Bendheim’s standard products, enhances privacy around the tower’s checkpoint area. Double-sided bronze etched mirror acts as a partition wall and 3/4 inch monolithic grey glass was installed in large doors and openings around the security areas. “There were a lot of challenges in this project to get the appearance perfect,’’ Larsen says. “We offered different textures and opacities. Ultimately, we homed in on the correct aesthetic over many design iterations. The project incorporates many glass types, and the end result came out gorgeous.”

“We wanted the experience of the building to really feel like Chicago. There are so many different types of people in the city.” — Marissa Luehring, Architect/Designer, Gensler

Exterior improvements added

SkB Architects overhauled the street-level experience and facade. The intent married the goals of the interior changes to make the building more welcoming. According to a fact sheet on the project, “With its new exterior, Willis Tower will offer an inviting and vibrant pedestrian experience while honoring the building’s role as a unique Chicago and American icon. It will create a sense of place, not just a place to work.” A five-story district at the base of the tower, called Catalog, ties the building back to the original owner, Sears Roebuck and Company. EQ Office calls Catalog a neighborhood, with retail, dining and entertainment. “Catalog represents everything we love about Chicago, from the energy of the neighborhoods and the diversity of the city’s design and architecture,’’ says David