400N Lake Shore Drive


400N Lake Shore Drive

project completion

Competition 2016


2,889,628 sf



Architecture | STLArchitects
Engineering | ARUP
Exterior Wall | ENAR


Our goal for the exterior wall design was to provide the greatest opportunity for design expression and the maximum flexibility of the development of the interior with the simplest system. We reduced the wind effects without resorting to complex shapes and forms that, while effective at reducing costs of the structural systems, sometimes transfer these costs to the exterior enclosure. These complex forms can not only increase enclosure costs as a result of extra time required for design and engineering, they increase the difficulty of site layout and construction and can increase the opportunities for error. They can also drive costs higher by reducing the number of qualified constructors, limiting the bid pool or disqualifying preferred subcontractors.

With the concept of the homogenous tapered tower informing our exterior wall design, we selected an all-glass façade to reinforce this singular expression. Recognizing the importance of being able to point to a landmark feature of the tower and say “I live there”, we thought it critical to avoid relentless uniformity in expression and to provide a level of segmentation and fragmentation to the tower.

With a simple set of module variations providing a canvas upon which we could overlay a linear geometric play using an applied ceramic frit, we are able to differentiate between the lower, middle and upper sections of the towers and provide graphic landmarks on the façade to give residents a visible connection to their home. This façade is straightforward in design, easy to fabricate and erect. It allows flexible expression on the exterior. It also provides flexibility on the interior, offering the option form either framed views or floor to ceiling views, within the same unit. Facade Flexibility The design of the all-glass unitized curtain wall with the varying opaque ceramic frit allows for fluctuating degrees of opacity on the exterior wall and creates opportunities for dramatically different ways of experiencing the views from one’s home.

By minimizing the spandrel portions to the area adjacent the head and sill of the slab, the views are opened to extend from floor to ceiling, providing spectacular full-height views of the Chicago skyline and lakefront.

By increasing the dimensions of the opaque fritted areas of the glass to create larger spandrel portions, a different quality can be imparted on the interior of the units – a quality of sophistication and elegance that expresses the exterior wall as a solid element providing spectacular framed views of the surrounding cityscape. Window seats and other built-in elements can be provided at spandrel portions to create an overlay of refined luxury on the exterior view.

partners in charge

Luis Collado

Jose Luis de la Fuente

technical director

Tracy Salvia

project manager

Beatriz Gonzalez

lead designer

Jose Luis Perez-Griffo


Marta Bueno

Ignacio Espigares

Andrea Kamilaris

Brian Koehler

Andrew Paul

Logan Springer