EnV Chicago

Distinguished Building Award Submission

The site is a poor sister, wedged between the “L” tracks on one side and taller office buildings on the other. But this dense urban context was key in defining the design approach.

The building denies that it is a box. It is composed of a series of glass planes that slide by one another. These forms are punctuated by the glass enclosed balconies that seem to visually cantilever over the adjacent “L” tracks.

The expression of its form could not be compromised by a type of skin usually required to meet the economics of this building type. A custom window-wall system was developed achieving the taut surface that usually requires curtainwall technology.

All this design was driven by a profile of prospective users the team created. 161 W. Kinzie was designed as an escape - part residence, part club - a place where you could be part of a community of your peers. We nicknamed them “the young and the restless” -- defined by things that you aren’t. You aren’t married, you don’t have kids and you don’t care whether or not you live a block off the Magnificent Mile. Instead you work very hard.

Valerio Dewalt Train Associates
Lynd Development
General contractor
McHugh Construction
Chicago, Illinois