SOM is in the process of retrofitting their 1958 Inland Steel Building to meet modern sustainability and landmark restoration goals. The idea for the upgrade, although headed by SOM, was actually conceived in 2007 when, non other than Frank Gehry and New York real estate player Richard Cohen purchased the 19-story, 232,450-square-foot property for approximately $57 million, and set out to transform the aging structure into Class A space.
SOM’s master plan for the upgrade includes the addition of a green roof, a chilled beam-cooling system, and a general overhaul of the mechanical systems. With these new components, SOM is aiming for a LEED Platinum rating. “We’re all demanding more of our buildings in terms of sustainability, so we need to find more thoughtful ways of doing that in landmark buildings,” said Stephen Apking, the firm’s partner-in-charge on the project. “It’s quite a good puzzle.”
The restoration also includes plans to attract tenants by “bank on the building’s cultural cachet and aesthetic appeal.” The idea is that companies who occupy the floors will not be looking to conduct their own interior fit-out, but will rather adopt the branding built into the architecture. Plus, the modular system, with movable floors, ceilings, and walls, has the flexibility to be reconfigured for new tenants, eliminating waste created by interior demolition.
“The last thing that a growing, changing, or mobile company wants to worry about is maintaining a permanent physical environment. As a more flexible alternative to a conventional commercial fit-out, an office hotel gives companies an immediately deployable workplace and high-end amenities without tying them down,” explained SOM.
As seen on The Architect’s Newspaper. Restoration Image copyright of SOM.