Chicago, Illinois, USA
As part of the larger redevelopment of Chicago Union Station and additional adjacent real estate owned by Amtrak, the 320 South Canal by Goettsch Partners and Confluence Landscape Architecture adds a new landmark office tower and major public space to the city.
320 South Canal has recently been awarded a 2023 Green Good Design Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
Located directly south of the 1925 Union Station headhouse building, the 2.2-acre full-block site is positioned in a rapidly changing area of the West Loop, with close connections to transit and the major expressways.
The program consists of 1.5 million square feet of Class A office space and associated amenities, including two levels of underground parking.
The majority of the site—approximately 1.5 acres—is set aside as a public park.
Designed as a stepped, three-tiered building, the 52-story tower is oriented in the north-south direction along the east side of the site.
The east face of the building aligns with the property line, reinforcing the urban street wall defined by the historic headhouse on the adjacent block.
The three setbacks reflect the internal organization of the building, with efficient, column-free floor plates that cater to a variety of tenants.
Large terraces at each setback offer outdoor amenity spaces with expansive views of downtown.
The building’s subtly folded façade creates an ever-changing texture that reinforces the verticality of the building.
At street level, east and west façades express V-shaped structural transfers, which open up the ground floor. In this way, the park becomes an integral part of the building, and the building serves as an extension of the park.
The park space is organized around a large, oval-shaped lawn.
A curved path defines the main pedestrian circulation from the northeast to southwest corners of the site, promoting connections between the station and the evolving West Loop.
In addition to the central lawn, the park includes a variety of smaller spaces that, together, allow for a variety of outdoor activities as well as pop-up retail space on the north side—all set against the backdrop of the iconic headhouse.
Prioritizing Health + Wellness Design strategies for the project emphasized improving occupant wellbeing, with the building achieving LEED Gold certification, WELL Platinum precertification, and WiredScore Platinum certification.
Tenants can easily access outdoor terraces for fresh air and the many outdoor spaces and activities provided by the park space.
Indoors, the tower incorporates innovative technology to maximize occupant health, mitigate risk related to harmful environmental factors, and enhance tenant operational efficiency.
Air quality initiatives include GPS Bi-Polar Ionization, which introduces positive and negative ions into the airstream to attack airborne and surface-deposited pathogens and pollutants.
There is much research on the impacts of ionized air on pathogens, notably a 99.4% inactivation rate against the Covid-19 virus.
When considering fresh air delivery and the benefits of increased ventilation on employee performance, the tower’s outdoor airflow was designed to be six times the national code minimum.
Additionally, hospital-grade MERV-15 filters are used on all air handlers, improving particle size range capture by 50% as compared to standard MERV-12 filters.
320 South Canal utilizes Cohesion IAQ Monitoring software that integrates smart control systems into a single, intelligent, data-driven platform.
The technology allows management to monitor, control, and automatically improve air quality across eight metrics throughout the building.
By linking the Cohesion system to the Building Automation System, the risks of airborne pathogen spread are being continuously monitored and mitigated.
Touchless technology is utilized throughout the building, including the lobby where “Wave to Enter” touchless actuators are used for auto-operated doors, low-energy auto operators for high-use swing doors, and automatic rotation for revolving doors. Proxy access control allows for touchless security entry, and visitor registration uses smartphone Bluetooth for frictionless access.
All bathroom fixtures and devices are touchless and include Kohler’s anti-microbial finish, while toilet partition hardware and accessories include the Bradley anti-microbial finish.
In addition, high-traffic areas receive enhanced cleaning from building staff and high-touch areas include NanoSeptic Applied Barriers to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
Project: 320 South Canal
Architects: Goettsch Partners
Lead Architect: James Goettsch
Landscape Architects: Confluence Landscape Architecture
Clients: Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties and BMO Harris Bank
Photographers: Nick Ulivieri Photography and Ian Jolipa