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SOM-designed office tower aims to promote health and wellness

Office Buildings

SOM-designed office tower aims to promote health and wellness

A mixed-use building in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood blends the old with the new.

By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | April 11, 2022
800 Fulton Market
Designed by SOM, 800 Fulton Market relates to the rhythm and scale of the neighborhood’s historic low-rise streetscape as well as Chicago downtown high rises through a series of stepped terraces. All photos: © Dave Burk | SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) recently completed work on 800 Fulton Market, a new mixed-use office building in Chicago’s historic Fulton Market/West Loop neighborhood. The tower applies innovations in pandemic-responsive design, leveraging capacity-monitoring technology and ample outdoor space to promote tenant safety, health, and wellness. 

The 800 Fulton tower features smart building systems. Assistive technology enables availability and capacity monitoring for conference rooms and amenity spaces and tracks paper product usage, while mechanical systems cycle fresh air throughout the building. The project is targeting both LEED Platinum and WELL Building Standard certification.

The 19-floor design also reflects the rhythm and scale of the Fulton Market District’s historic low-rise streetscape. From a three-story podium, the building rises in stepped terraces that create landscaped outdoor spaces with native planting and trees.

800 Fulton Market ext 2
800 Fulton Market features a range of smart building systems that promote wellness, sustainability, and energy efficiency.

External steel brace frames on the east and west elevations have been engineered with Chicago’s harsh winters in mind. The central node of each brace moves closer to the facade as the braces cool and contract—and further from the facade as the braces heat up and expand. Through an expected range of about 9 inches of thermal movements, the braces are effective at resisting wind loads. Together with an offset cantilevered core made of glass, this structural system enables large, open floor plates and flexible, light-filled workspaces.

800 Fulton Market interior
Inside, a triple height main lobby is defined by a cantilevered staircase and mezzanine that create layered spaces of activity.

Inside, a nearly 40-foot-tall main lobby is defined by a cantilevered staircase and mezzanine that create layered spaces of activity. With exposed concrete, wood, and red brick, the lobby mimics the tower’s exterior and draws inspiration from the neighborhood’s industrial history. With flexible workstations and seating, the lobby also serves as an interactive space that blends seamlessly with the busy streetscape.

The rooftop bar and terraces on the 18th and 19th floors offer panoramic views of the surrounding city. The building also includes retail, community and conferencing spaces, a fitness center, and a lounge. 

The building team includes:
Owner and developer: Thor Equities, QuadReal 
Design architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Architect of record: SOM
MEP engineer: dbHMS
Structural engineer: SOM 
General contractor/construction manager: Lendlease

800 Fulton Market interior 2
A vibrant mix of retail, community and conferencing spaces, a fitness center and lounge activate the site throughout the day.

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