Discussed for the better part of a decade, things were starting to look up for the Solstice on the Park development after it was re-approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in February. Though the Hyde Park project is at last moving forward, it appears the design has seen a substantial revision based on a recent rendering posted on architect Studio Gang’s website.
Looking at the new image, the most obvious change is the building’s color which has seen the white and lime green accents replaced with a single hue that can only be described as battleship grey. The drab rendering of the tower’s glass also contributes to the monochromatic appearance.
Solstice was designed with an angled southern facade with a pattern of bays that would simplify into wider blocks as the tower climbed and individual units became larger. While this detail still remains, the effect is now far less pronounced. The change is likely driven by the programmatic shift from the original plan of 145 condominiums to 250 rental apartments.
The irregular punch-outs on the tower’s eastern and western walls designed to be reminiscent of sunlight passing through the branches of a tree also appear to have been abandoned in favor of less complicated (and frankly more boring) rectangular openings. The new image also shows more open space around the building’s mechanical penthouse — perhaps indicative of the inclusion of a large rooftop amenity deck that seems to be en vogue for all new residential towers.
There are two possible reasons behind the revisions. Either Studio Gang’s client Antheus Capital believed the changes looked superior, or the choice was a result of so-called "value engineering" to lower the project’s overall cost. Our money’s on the latter.