900 North Michigan Avenue

Four Seasons Hotel

Chicago, Illinois Urban Investment & Development Company Perkins & Will Mixed-Use, Residential, Retail 2.1 million ft2 / 195,000 m2 266 meters

The form of 900 North Michigan Avenue is a result of both internal and external pressures. The design honors Chicago’s traditions and the scale of its context by placing lower volumes directly along North Michigan Avenue. Clad in cream-colored limestone and light reflective green glass, the 66 stories of the traditional slab structure accommodate a complex mixed-use program, including office space, hotel guest rooms and condominium residences. The façade is organized into three parts: the base, which lends definition at street level, the middle, which features vertical striation and leads the eye upwards, and the top, which features four corner pavilions and lanterns.

The texture and rich detail of the eight-level base, composed of granite, marble, and limestone, is scaled to engage the streetscape for pedestrians. The portal of the building’s Michigan Avenue façade opens into a six-story retail atrium that culminates in the grand lobby of Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel. This carefully planned entrance sequence reinforces the civic spirit of the building.

900 North Michigan Avenue responds to the 333 North Michigan Avenue building by Holabird and Roche by establishing an axial polarity between the two. The height and slenderness of this tower is enhanced by the steps in its form which reflect the different programs within. The height is also emphasized by the four distinct corner towers at the building’s top. These gridded, translucent glass towers are lit at night to form lanterns.

The design incorporates two major themes in Chicago architecture: the Chicago frame and the Chicago window. The building’s frame is dense at the corners to establish its boundaries, and features vertical striations of taller proportions to mark the building’s centers. Within the frame, the tripartite window design, which combines a wide center bay with narrow side bays, is a variation of the Chicago window.

Image 1 / 3 | © Jock Pottle