theWit Hotel

Distinguished Building Award Submission

The site was a 68’ by 140' depressed corner lot on the wrong side of the “EL” tracks. We did not turn our backs to this urban condition as most adjacent to the EL have done, but responded to this quintessential Chicago condition with a hypercontextuality. The double-height, low-iron glass lobby allows the iconic EL to become a kinetic sculpture while the zigzagging chartreuse glass performs like a theater marquee for the building and has made it the gateway to Chicago's Theater District. TheWit has been transformative for the block and the architecture has become the basis of the branding of this Hilton Doubletree.

We embraced the panorama of Chicago in all theWit's rooms and spaces. Our research included capturing potential views by using a remote control helicopter outfitted with a camera. On a 9520 SF footprint, this 27-story 250,000 SF mixed-use building has 298-guestrooms, 2 restaurants, 2 floors of conference space, a state-of-the-art screening room, fitness center and spa and roof-top lounge that makes the user feel unmistakably in the center of the real Chicago, not the sanitized Chicago of Michigan Avenue, but the gritty glamorous Chicago at the corner of State and Lake.

Koo and Associates Ltd
ECD Company
  • Cheryl Rowley Design
  • Halvorson and Partners
General contractor
James McHugh Construction Company
Chicago, Illinois