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150 N. Riverside beat by New York towers for best building award

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Chicago’s trophy office tower did win crowd favorite

Nick Fochtman

No matter where you are at 150 N. Riverside the views are striking: Cruising by on a boat tour with the river reflecting in the angled glass; looking up at the base of the massive core-supported structure; and one can only imagine the cityscape from the 54th floor.

But what’s more remarkable is the structural engineering that was required for the build. The office tower has already won awards for its innovative design on one of the most complicated sites in Chicago. Now, it’s the only Chicago finalist for the Best New Buildings Americas award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). It’s one of 10 awards at the 2018 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference.

Three other buildings, one in Quito, Ecuador and two in New York, are also finalists for the category. On Wednesday at Chicago’s Raddissun Blu Aqua Hotel, architects and developers presented their buildings, all of which pioneered design solutions to seemingly problematic site challenges.

Ultimately, it was the American Copper Building from SHoP Architects and JDS Development that took home the title of Best Tall Buildings Americas.

The two Manhattan towers are outfitted in live copper—so the building will change from deep red to Statue-of-Liberty green. The buildings are connected by a three-story skybridge with a spa, health club, pool, climbing wall, and lounge. Architects incorporated the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy by adding to every unit emergency phone charing outlets and refrigerators that will run even if the power is out.

Although a panel of judges selected the award winner, the audience on Wednesday chose 150 N. Riverside as the fan favorite. Perhaps there was a bit of a home town advantage?

Anthony Scacco, executive vice president of Riverside Investment and Development, and James Goettsch, CEO and Partner at Goettsch Parnters, spoke on behalf of 150 N. Riverside.

150 N. Riverside

It’s clear the team had their work cut out for them with bridges on three sides, water on the fourth plus Amtrak rail lines underground. The construction process required a custom barge for the crane and the I-beams are some of the largest produced in the world, weighing nearly 1,000 pounds per foot.

Air rights, no utilities and three separate parcels further complicated the project. So much so, the 2 acres in the middle of Chicago’s downtown sat vacant for nearly 100 years. But today, more than half of the site is a public park and the building has it’s own art curator with a library of 250 pieces of digital art which rotate through the LED display.

Another finalist included 35XV, a unique hybrid building in Manhattan that’s part condo and classrooms for Xavier High School. There were many challenges for the project, one of which was solved by forgoing traditional wedding cake setback and opting for a sculptural, sloped glass tower atop a granite base.

And then the Gaia Building in Quito, Ecuador which represents an economic shift for the city set in the Andes mountains. It is the first mixed-use building in Quito and the exterior was intricately puzzled together using 31 molds and a total of 364 exterior panels.

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At the 2018 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference, 10 awards winners were chosen from a group of 48 finalist projects representing 28 countries. Here’s the list below:

Best Tall Building Worldwide: Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore
Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia Winner: Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore
Best Tall Building Europe Winner: The Silo in Copehagen, Denmark
Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa Winner: Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa
Urban Habitat Award: The World Trade Center Master Plan in New York City
Innovation Award: MULTI, the world’s first rope-less, multi-directional elevator
Construction Award: EY Centre in Ottawa, Ontario
10 Year Award: New York Times Tower, 2007 and Shanghai World Financial Center, 2008