Jun 25, 2014
THEME: Point of View

Ahoy, Chicago! Perkins+Will Projects in the Windy City

Founded in Chicago in 1935, Perkins+Will has a long and fruitful relationship with the Windy City, from our first projects like the Crow Island School in suburban Winnetka to modern icons such as the Rush University Medical Center Tower.  If you happen to be visiting Chicago for the American Institute of Architects 2014 Convention (or in the city for any reason, really), make sure to connect with our colleagues attending and presenting, and take time to discover the Perkins+Will design legacy that is an intrinsic part of the Chicago cityscape. 

Below, find a small sampling of our projects around the Chicago area built over eight decades, demonstrating our commitment to making this city known for its unequaled collection of celebrated architecture. 

William Jones College Preparatory High School
700 South State Street
Completed 2013

Located just south of the Loop in downtown Chicago, the replacement William Jones College Preparatory High School will serve 1200 students in grades 9 through 12 in a new 280,000-square-foot facility. Due to the compact urban site, the school’s functions are dispersed vertically over seven occupied floors, rather than a low-rise horizontal layout typical of most schools.

516 North Wells Street
Completed 2004

Contemporaine, a 15-story condominium building located at 516 North Wells in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago, consists of a four-story retail and parking base and an 11-story residential tower with 52 units. The project, designed by Ralph Johnson and Perkins+Will, is located in a vibrant section of the city and surrounded by mid-rise warehouses converted to residential use, low-rise retail, newer residential towers and the elevated tracks of the city’s rapid transit system.

100 North Riverside Plaza
100 North Riverside Plaza
Completed 1990

Perkins+Will’s design for this 36-story high-rise allows varied program requirements to be expressed throughout separate components that solve functional problems. The site is an air-rights site over an operating railroad yard, situated along the west side of the Chicago River, and across from the downtown “Loop.” The program consists of a leasable 23-story tower, a six-story data center for Illinois Bell Telephone with higher floor-to-floor height requirements, a parking garage for 435 cars, and a street-level restaurant.

JP Morgan Chase Tower (originally First National Bank)
10 S Dearborn Street
Completed 1969

Located on a three-acre site in the center of Chicago’s Loop, the 2.2-million square foot building for is 60 stories high, making it one of the tallest bank structures in the world and a recognizable silhouette on the city’s skyline. Its gracefully tapering columns, which marked a break from the usual rectangular “box”, were an ingenious response to the bank’s need for the largest possible floor areas for public banking services near the street level. At its base, this building’s lively open plaza is one of the most popular gathering places in the Loop and a model for successful plaza design throughout the world.

737 W. Washington Boulevard
Completed 2003

Skybridge is a 39-story, 237-unit residential condominium tower, including a five-story base component, designed by Perkins+Will. The base consists of a grocery, bank, and coffee shop at grade, with four levels of parking above the retail. The building is located west of downtown Chicago, in the “West Loop” neighborhood.

Rush University Medical Center Tower
1630 W Harrison Street
Completed 2012

In 2004, Rush University Medical Center revealed plans to embark on the most comprehensive construction and facilities improvement project in its nearly 175-year history. Dubbed the Campus Transformation Project, the sweeping plan called for investment in new technologies and facility design that would modernize operations for the 21st century and reorient the campus around the comfort of patients and their families.

Rush enlisted Perkins+Will to plan and design the transformation, which included a new 840,000 square foot state-of-the-art hospital building, a new medical office building and the largest orthopedics care facility of its kind in the Midwest, and a centralized power plant/parking garage. 

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N Cannon Drive
Completed 1999

The new museum’s design embodies a physical and metaphorical link to The Chicago Academy of Sciences’ mission to cultivate greater understanding of the natural history of the Midwest. The angular masses housing the exhibits recall the shifting sand dunes that existed on the site before it was converted to park in the late 19th century. Their indeterminate quality expresses the dynamics of nature.

And further afield:

Crate & Barrel Headquarters
1250 Techny Road, Northbrook
Completed 2002

For its new corporate headquarters, Crate & Barrel wanted a classic modern design which kept with the aesthetic of its houseware and furniture products. This new facility on a twenty-four acre partially wooded site north of Chicago includes office space and merchandising space for review of sample products.

Crow Island School
1112 Willow Rd, Winnetka
Completed 1940

The school was the first of its type to be zoned by age group, with four classroom wings surrounding a common activity core. Each classroom is a self-contained unit; an L-shaped space with its own workroom, outdoor study/play courtyard, restrooms, sink, and drinking fountain. More than 60 years after the school was opened, it remains one of the most imaginatively and effectively-designed educational facilities of our time.

Sears Headquarters
3333 Beverly Rd., Hoffman Estates
Completed 1992

For the Sears Merchandise Group’s planned relocation to suburban Chicago, a 780-acre site in Hoffman Estates was analyzed for its opportunities and constraints. In determining the optimal location for the Sears facility and subsequent development, such factors as topography, vegetation, climate, access, and view were considered. The resulting master plan integrates a Sears-related campus with a potential array of additional mixed uses, including low- to mid-rise office buildings, hotels, and retail facilities.


  1. Ashley S
    8:19 pm on June 14, 2018 | Reply

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