With its base in Chicago, and other offices in San Francisco and Abu Dhabi, Solomon CordwellBuenz (SCB) is an international architecture, planning, and interior design firm that creates forward-thinking design solutions. Founded in 1931 and functioning till date, its works have not only been an enhancement in Chicago’s beauty but also marked an everlasting impression in the city’s skyline.
This article discusses its various projects of residences, offices, mixed-use developments, hospitality, campus environments, aviation, planning, and interiors across the continents.
Here are 15 iconic projects by Solomon CordwellBuenz:
1. 17th & Broadway
Spread across some 9.5 acres in the heart of downtown Oakland, 17th & Broadway marks the first residential tower to be built in the city in over a decade. With a retail span on the ground floor, this 34-story tower is composed of 254 residential units which include sky decks, pool terraces, grilling stations, pet grooming spaces, and more. Moving to the building’s visual character, this Green Point Rated building draws its cues from the context of Oakland’s ceramic clad historic urban core through the use of patterned limestone-hued concrete panels complimenting the terracotta tiles in the neighborhood along with the glass expression that meets the street.
2. The Bristol
Built-in a contemporary architectural style, featuring grand curved glass in the façade to activate the elevations with the image of waves, The Bristol is a destination for luxury living on the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach, Florida. Spread across 11.5 acres and to be a LEED Silver, this 25-story tower’s elements include deeply curved balconies that add to the design’s fluidity. With 165 below-grade parking spaces and 69 condominiums where each unit is serviced by a private elevator, it has a range of high-end amenities like private locker rooms leading to an outdoor pool and pool deck, fitness center, business centers, and guest suites.
3. Hub Group International Headquarters
Holding a LEED Gold certification, the office of the Hub Group in Oak Brook, Illinois is a total balance of private and informal breakout spaces along with the workplace for operational needs. The design strategy here follows an ‘inside-out’ methodology, considering the user movements, comfort, and needs of functional adjacencies. The openness of floor plans brings about spaces that encourage connectivity among employees. Besides incorporating Hub’s ubiquitous green shipping containers as low partitions to mark the multiple break-out spaces, the building features a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall to capitalize on natural light. Also, the Hub Group’s business objectives, culture, and commitment to stability are reflected in the assimilation of Class-A facilities.
4. 111 West Illinois
This small peninsula of the land of around 6.2 acres served as the form generator for this outstanding building design with distinctive beveled corner geometry. Located in the city of bold architecture, Chicago, this building aligns with its skyline views. The inventive design solutions and the features that are very much evident in this 10-story tower is a sure outcome of the compact and irregular site that initially posed restrictions to regular practices. The office building also houses a retail section on the ground floor with two office lobbies and a central lobby while the top floor encases the special function spaces with access to a green roof.
5. 520 Mateo
Set in the historic Arts District of Los Angeles, being the city’s first high-rise 520 Mateo weaves through the surrounding urban fabric in a contemporary style with shifts and breaks in the strong grids and programmatic elements. Composed of a 35-story residential tower with 475 apartments, a 6-story office tower, a huge span of retail and 748 car parking, this mixed-use development spreads itself across 23 acres including decent 55,000-square-feet of activated open space with lushly landscaped public paseo connecting the Mateo streets featuring outdoor seating and performance stage made from a repurposed train car, referencing the rail line that once traversed the site.
6. The Summit at University City
Having been awarded and appreciated numerous times, the dynamic & modern building of The Summit at University City in Philadelphia is an astonishing model of an innovative living environment. The high-rise part of the building brings about efficient floor plans incorporating various bedroom units and suites, while the low-rise retail storefront that draws the character of adjacent Powelton Village, enhances the pedestrian experience. The ground level of the building emphasizes community spaces including lobby lounge, recreation and fitness center, theatre, group study rooms, cyber lounge, and business and mail center. To reinforce the connectivity of the University Campus and the greater University City neighborhood, the building offers Urban Eatery which is open to the public.
7. The Morris Inn
The Morris Inn that has been a front door to the University of Notre Dame for over 60 years, underwent a complete renovation with additional expansion. The renovation showcases the beautified incorporation of new brick & stone in collegiate gothic façade that wraps around the original 1950s facility besides offering a new Porte-cochere guest drop-off. Also, the expansion program focuses on the additional guest room, a ballroom that is divisible into smaller rooms, new dining areas, pubs, and a renovated & expanded lobby. The refurbished & LEED Gold certified campus continues its tradition as ‘the living room of the university’ with room for more gatherings and activities for students, faculties as well as administrators.
8. The Hotel at Oberlin and Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center
This LEED Platinum certified mixed-use development is an exemplar for high-performance buildings. To bring the arts and sciences together, creating a transformative sustainable community, the building addresses the groundbreaking mix of first-of-its-kind sustainable technologies and innovative visitor engagement strategies. The innovative sustainable techniques like rainwater harvesting, automated solar shading, thermal envelope, and natural ventilation serve to round out the building’s approach to green practices. Spread in some 2.4 acres, it encompasses guestrooms, event and conference spaces, admission center, welcome center, convergence center, and flexible learning spaces. Using 55 percent less energy than comparable buildings, this is the first hotel in Ohio to utilize radiant heating and cooling.
9. Tooker House Dining Hall
The ground floor of Tooker House that is Arizona State University’s living community space for students is a praiseworthy model of the dining hall with 545 seats and all-you-care-to-eat dining. With minimal finishes exposing the concrete floor, support column, and ceiling, the space blends natural materials like wood and metal expressed in a desert palette. This 27,000-square-foot space has reinforced four food venues with comfortable and flexible seating. Also, space features a social stair rise that connects to the second-floor mezzanine which has study lounge, moveable furniture, a wall for video projection, small group seating areas with laptop-based technology. Having been LEED Gold certified the space functions with great sustainability too.
10. Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons
Designed for Loyola University Chicago, the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons serves as a learning commons for students. This library of the digital age provides space for collaborative learning and web-based research. Featuring a double skin western façade, automated window system, radiant flooring, and computer-controlled shading, the building has its energy consumption reduced by 52% maintaining a comfortable interior. This 1.6-acre project that is LEED Silver certified also holds in numerous awards. Moving to the aesthetics, this modern and transparent building offers unobstructed breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. The use of clear glass walls enclosed between limestone ‘bookends’ using materials, scale, and details similar to the surrounding historic buildings, creates a link between the university’s past to its future.
11. O’Hare Global Terminal
O’Hare Global Terminal, which is targeting any LEED Gold equivalent project, holds a very recognizable form that is distinctive of Chicago icon: the city’s ‘Y-symbol’. The smoothly bending tripartite design merges the terminal and concourse are clad in wood enhancing its curving form. The dramatic Oculus welcomes visitors under a six-pointed glass skylight that borrows it’s geometry from the Chicago flag and is surrounded by rhythmic, pleated roof. The building is oriented in a manner to maximize natural light and energy efficiency. While the mezzanine offers the expansive views of the airfield, the space beneath the oculus, there’s an expansive central green with lush planters, street furniture, and informal gathering spaces extending to the framing boulevards of restaurants, shops, and retail evoking a lively Chicago neighborhood street.
12. Al Ain International Airport Master Plan
The master plan of Al-Ain International Airport that covers a wide area of 2500 acres is a globally recognized center for technical aerospace excellence. Accommodating the Aerospace Cluster with airside access located central to the airport facilities, surrounded by a multi-use, interrelated Business Logistics Park, the master plan has set a model for international planning. The perimeter covers commercial office districts, aviation training facilities, and a variety of amenity-rich residential neighborhood. The major planning principal focuses on locating the commercial centers at key intersections. Besides the functioning of commercial and aerospace development areas, the plan also enhances the neighborhoods by providing community facilities, schools, religious institutions, and retail within proximity to the residential neighborhoods.
13. Red and Purple Line TOD
The Red and Purple Line Modernization (RPM) Program is a Transit Oriented Development that closely aligns with the character and goals of the neighborhood of Chicago. To accomplish extensive transit system improvements and encompass around 200 acres of the mixed-use neighborhood, the plan is well researched ensuring balanced and realistic development strategies that are proposed for the sites. The plan focuses on parcels acquired to support Phase One track construction efforts and facilitation of subsequent disposition of the parcels after the project is complete bringing an outcome including specific redevelopment strategies for impacted parcels.
Composed of 540 rental apartments, an attached garage, and retail, Moment is a 47-story mixed-use project in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood with sophisticated and elegant design focusing on healthy living. Featuring two large-scale amenity decks on the ninth floor and the rooftop, the project also includes an outdoor pool, sundeck, and lounge with views of the city and Lake Michigan. The use of light wood and clean, elegant features integrated through the amenity spaces emphasizes on overall wellness, vitality, and mindfulness. Besides this, the building offers a yoga room, pet spa, fitness center, wellness spa, and massage room, sauna and steam rooms to provide residents with the opportunity to relieve stress and feel at ease in their home.
The renovation and expansion of IMC’s office at Willis Tower in Chicago are designed with a major emphasis on collaboration and innovation. With a variety of informal meeting spaces for group work with writable surfaces like the walls of the conference room, the design also embraces the structural challenges of the building with exposed ceilings, columns, and large trusses. The major element that is the staircase connects the main floors to encourage interaction between the numerous departments. Drawing its inspiration from the dynamic organization, the finishes and materials for space are layered creating a dimension and character throughout the office.