Renovation Award of Excellence: LondonHouse Chicago, Chicago
Goettsch Partners, Chicago
Founder, President & CEO
Oxford Capital Group, LLC, Chicago
From a 1920s Office Building to a Modern-Day Luxury Hotel
LondonHouse Chicago is the adaptive reuse and restoration of a 1923 office building, originally designed by Alfred Alschuler for the London Guarantee & Accident Company. In its updated iteration, it is combined with a new, slender infill tower that completes the street wall on an adjacent site, overlooking the Chicago River at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Building occupancy was low prior to the renovation, resulting in its acquisition by a new owner, who saw an opportunity in the property’s high-profile location and opted to lead the restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic building, as well as design an integrated new “sliver” tower to the west, the buildings together serving as a 452-key hotel.
The project involved extensive façade restoration, including monumental cast-iron windows, wood-framed window restoration, and significant façade restoration of ornamental limestone, as well as stone restoration, carving, and reconstruction. In one case, a quarter section of a damaged Corinthian column capital was re-carved over a period of 500 hours. The narrow, 65-foot- (19.8-meter-) wide infill building presented challenges to both design and construction, requiring nine different crane placements. The design was ultimately sculpted to complement both the Art Deco façade and the Classical structure of the original building.