Courtesy James Steinkamp Photography
Keeping up with – and ahead of – current retail trends, customer expectations and tenant needs is critical to the success of the Old Orchard Mall, a Chicago-area shopping destination that first opened in 1959. In 2012, mall owner Westfield Group approached Thornton Tomasetti with a novel concept: to develop a glass building that could be used for short-term exhibitions, promotional parties, concerts and other events. Westfield’s aesthetic vision called for the building to be virtually transparent, while the range of uses required the space to be completely flexible. Our façade engineering designers and structural engineers partnered with MEP engineer Syska Hennessy Group and architect JGMA to develop the concept and design the building. The result? The Cube.
To preserve the transparency of the pavilion, the structure is supported on just four steel columns, one inset in each corner. A series of large doors on the north and south façades pivot to open the space to the outdoors. The east and west walls consist of oversized low-iron glass panels that are supported by structural glass fins joined to the panels by structural silicone. Stainless steel plates embedded into the fins at roof level support the roof glass and transfer the façade loads to the main structure.
This minimalist system is nearly invisible and ideal for the display of merchandise or exhibits. The interior has no fixed furnishings or floor finishes, and includes moveable lights and strategically placed power locations to provide total flexibility in programming.
The Cube is a beautiful, multifunctional space designed to appeal to the mall’s tenants and shoppers. If it proves to be popular, our design could serve as the prototype for similar spaces at Westfield’s malls across the country.
Notable Project Wins
Courtesy Grimshaw Architects UK
Koc Contemporary Art Museum, Istanbul
Façade consulting for a cultural facility (above, left) that will feature custom ceramic and mosaic tile cladding, a reference to traditional Ottoman architecture.
Imperial College London, Imperial West Campus, Block D, London
Architect: PLP Architecture
Façade consulting for a building (above, right) on a new technology campus. The façades are being designed to flexible criteria to accommodate current research and office space as well as other possible uses in the future.
China Construction Bank Headquarters, Shenzhen
We are assisting the architect with the development of a high-rise facade. Thornton Tomasetti is also providing structural design.
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