Motorola Mobility Headquarters Relocation Roof Terrace
CBRE, Gensler, Google, Motorola Mobility
Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. (WLA) was hired by Gensler to design the rooftop amenity space for a major office relocation project in which the uppermost three floors of the historic Merchandise Mart would be reimagined by Gensler and tailored to fit the needs of Motorola Mobility. WLA worked closely with Gensler to design a rooftop amenity space that would be a landscaped oasis in the sky, provide a variety of types and sizes of spaces for employees who work long, demanding hours and expressed wishes for the space to become a “home away from home,” and provide a large “commons” for company-wide and other large events.
The design takes full advantage of breathtaking views of the main branch of the Chicago River, the intersection of the three branches at nearby Wolf Point, and views straight down Wells Street into the heart of the Loop. The riveredge is developed as an open promenade with ipe wood decking, allowing unimpeded access to the parapet and the signature views. Seating is set back and tucked into pockets surrounded by planting. Another walkway provides access to seating areas located against the south-facing wall of the penthouse, areas which are in a sun-pocket and sheltered from the cold west and northwest winds. Seating areas adjacent to the walkway are enclosed on the sides and overhead by a metal trellis which supports a variety of climbing vines. The walkway provides access to another sitting area framed by four hawthorns located above structural columns in raised planters, with crushed stone paving below, creating an intimate garden room. This walkway terminates at the west parapet and “sunset terrace,” providing views over low-rise Chicago to the western horizon.
All paving and planting was thoughtfully located with respect to the existing structure and designed to be lightweight, eliminating any costly reinforcement of the existing structure. The 12,243 square foot roof terrace was completed in the spring of 2014 for a cost of $1.46 million, or approximately $119.25 per square foot.