Research Campus Atrium
Naperville, Illinois / United States of America
Program: Design entry atrium addition to create new “first impression” for Corporate Research Campus.
Solution: The Atrium fills a courtyard linking three buildings. It was conceived as a transparent "jewel" to contrast the opaque brick, limestone, and tinted glass of existing buildings. The "jewel" is captured between massive limestone wingwalls - bookends - that frame and delineate new from old in a gesture of open arms. Since the building faces north, skylights were located above wingwalls to capture south sunlight across the stone surface. The monumental stair is both sculpture and circulation.
To avoid disturbing existing habitable basement space and costly foundation shoring, the addition was designed with only three columns set back clear from existing footings. The frame is braced south to the existing building and cantilevered to the north. The second and third floors hang from this roof cantilever. This solution avoids the typical opaque floorline/spandrel condition, allowing the curtianwall to float free in a three-story volume.
The Atrium is animated by the sculptural stair, movement of people, and the tracing of light throughout the day, and successfully creates the inviting environment that the client sought for their new "front door."
Recognition: American Architecture Award, Chicago Reader, ArchitectureWeek, CAF