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Navy Pier’s first hotel opens

KOO designed the project.

March 16, 2021 |
Sable at Navy Pier exterior against the city

All photos: Mike Schwartz

Navy Pier’s first hotel, Sable at Navy Pier, opened this week in Chicago. The KOO-designed project links the lake with the city that acts as its backdrop.

KOO started with a window box as the organizing principle for the design of the facade and guest rooms. Each of the 223 guest rooms features a window seat with views of Chicago’s skyline and Lake Michigan. The angled surface of each room’s window seat creates a textured exterior that reflects the range of light, shadow, and color of the lake.


Sable at Navy Pier window seat in a room


The interior design, also done by KOO, pulls inspiration from Navy Pier’s history as a port and the eponymous USS Sable by incorporating subtle nautical cues like weathered brass, ship building materials, and the use of smooth curves similar to those of a ship’s interior cabin. The color palette is grounded by mixed neutrals and highlighted by a spectrum of blues and blue-greens reminiscent of the colors of Lake Michigan.


Sable at Navy Pier lobby entry


The design of Sable at Navy Pier also preserves Navy Pier’s structure. A unique structural engineering approach was introduced to protect the pier. The design uses micropiles that thread through the existing pier foundations and lake water to bedrock below. The micropyles support new columns and a new structural slab that creates a platform to carry the hotel floors. The columns create an arcade that supports the hotel rooms above the Sable at Navy Pier’s lobby and newly created retail space.

In addition to KOO as the architect, James McHugh Construction Co. was the project’s general contractor. Sable at Navy Pier is targeting LEED Silver certification.


Sable at Navy Pier exterior


Sable at Navy Pier entrance


Sable at Navy Pier guest suite

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