150 North Riverside Plaza
O’Donnell Investment Company, Goettsch Partners
150 N. Riverside Plaza is a planned 53-story high-rise office building along the South Branch of the Chicago River between Lake and Randolph streets. The site is very constrained by multiple ownership as well as active railroad tracks running through the site to Union Station. Goettsch Partners, the architect, worked closely with Magnusson Klemencic, the structural engineers, to develop a building design with a very slender profile that tapers and narrows near the building’s base to land on the small footprint that is the site’s only buildable area.
Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. was retained because of its existing relationship with Goettsch Partners; the firm’s extensive experience with landscapes on structure; and the firm’s familiarity with the complex Chicago entitlements process, where all projects along the river are treated as “waterway planned developments” (PDs) that require review and approval by the 42nd Ward Alderman, the Department of Housing and Economic Development, and the Chicago Plan Commission.
The site and landscape plan has three principal components: the plaza connecting Randolph Street to the main building entry; a riverwalk promenade; and a park. The plaza is wide at the street to invite visitors into the site; it then narrows between the riverwalk and the park, and expands again to provide direct access to the building’s main entry. The 300 linear foot riverwalk has a continuous walkway; overlooks that bring pedestrians to the water’s edge; benches facing the river; a landscape buffer between the building and the riverwalk; and a terraced seating area facing the river. The park is a green and passive space intended to be a respite from the busy, dense urban surroundings. Access from the plaza up to the park is by direct steps and a switchback sloped sidewalk, eliminating the need for a handicap ramp. The project was completed in 2016.