Walsh Construction Company Headquarters
Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architects
Walsh Construction Company is a Chicago-based general contracting, construction management, and design-build firm recognized as the largest construction firm in the city. In 2009, Solomon Cordwell Buenz brought Wolff Landscape Architecture to the project team to provide landscape architectural services for a new headquarters building in Chicago’s West Loop. The new headquarters involved the complete renovation of an existing three story vacant warehouse building and also adding one story above the existing building. The additional floor allowed Walsh to consolidate its employees located in nearby rental properties into one central location.
The environmentally friendly facility’s landscape components at the most basic level comply with the Chicago Landscape Ordinance with inviting streetscape planters planted with deciduous trees on the west façade. The trees provide shade and respite from heat for the building in Chicago’s often hot summer, but also allow the sun to warm the building façade in the winter. The green roof goes above and beyond code requirements; a green roof system with a custom plant mix was utilized. It has a greater variety of species than a “normal” sedum green mix, and the species variation made the roof eligible for the LEED habitat creation credit. A rainwater harvesting system, integrated into the building systems, collects rainwater which is stored and re-used for green roof irrigation and bathroom fixture flushing, reducing both the building’s potable water consumption and its impact on stormwater runoff flowing into the city’s combined sewer system. As a result, no potable water is used for irrigation, contributing to a 70% overall reduction in potable water use for the building. There is also a bank of photovoltaic arrays providing supplemental energy to the building.
The $25 million project attained 86 of the available 110 LEED points to achieve Platinum certification, the sixth most points of any LEED NC project and the most points of any project in Illinois to date. The project was completed in June 2011 and demonstrated Walsh’s commitment to provide innovative, green, and sustainable construction solutions.