GENSLER; ZELLER; REED; MCSHANE
We were on hand last night as Gensler hosted a tour of its new LEED Platinum offices at the Sullivan Center at State and Madison, for Chicago Architecture Foundation members. Most Chicagoans can't think of the building as anything other than a giant Carson Pirie Scott department store, playing second fiddle to what will always be Marshall Field?s in our hearts.
Gensler?s offices on the third floor still have the original columns that were part of the store, as well as the tile from one of the ladies? lounges. But there's a lot that's new, too. That's Carlos Martinez, who, along with Ann Gibson designed the offices showing off the new ?pixel wall? at the office?s south end. It has several Velcro dots covering its surface, each of which can be adorned with a flat circle in one of four shades of gray. Gensler?s architects designed computer software to tell where to put the dots in a picture. The current picture is of Arthur Gensler?s face, but previous wall-of-famers have included Barack Obama. We're glad they've stayed away from featuring The Hair.
Gensler always has a cooler lunch room than you and me. There's only one place for the offices 250 employees to eat in the 5,500 square foot office, but it divides into two sections with a mechanical accordion wall that comes down from the ceiling. This half features a long table made out of a recovered bowling lane. Are the door stops used bowling balls?
The Gensler office worked hard for its ultra-LEED status, and part of that process was keeping as many elements of the old building as possible. This was also a hindrance because the windows, built more than 100 years ago, aren't very energy-efficient. But that also means they get to keep some really cool elements, like this original exterior wall, which splits the office in half. On the other side of the wall, each Gensler employee who's earned LEED certification gets to write the name and date they earned it. Go Team!