Project Completion Year
Project Location: City
Project Location: State
Project Location: Country
United States of America
River Point is a 52-story office tower comprising a Class-A office space, retail, restaurants, numerous amenities, a grand lobby, a 1.5 acre public plaza, and three levels of parking.
Located on a triangular site at the confluence of the branching North and South Chicago Rivers, River Point was constructed adjacent to and over active rail lines to enhance the character of this prominent river frontage while concealing the existing rail lines below.
The tower’s sculptural form creates a striking silhouette from throughout the city and responds to the inherent qualities of its site. The tower’s sweeping curves capture daylight deep within the building. Crowned with a distinct top, the tower’s upper floors offer dramatic views of the river, the river corridor to Lake Michigan and beyond.
The riverfront plaza, a welcome public amenity, reshapes the urban fabric by creating a lively civic space that encourages pedestrian activity along the waterfront. The plaza cascades down to the Riverwalk and the water’s edge through a series of landscaped terraces, seating areas, and pathways.
Overlooking the river and plaza, a dramatic three-story daylight-filled lobby serves as a shared grand public gathering space as well as a sheltered oasis along the river in winter.
River Point contributes to the ongoing and deliberate transformation of Chicago’s long neglected riverfront. Coupled with the recently completed Riverwalk, River Point reshapes the urban fabric by creating a dynamic civic space that encourages pedestrian activity at multiple levels along the riverfront.
Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation
Pre-certified LEED CS-Gold with CS-Platinum status pending, River Point’s design capitalizes on the qualities of its unique urban location while incorporating sustainable design strategies. The tower’s adoption and implementation of innumerable strategies and technologies demonstrates the entire project team’s early commitment to ensuring that the final project would exceed initial goals for sustainability. Specifically, it minimally impacts the natural environment and preserves limited resources; promotes a healthful and daylight-filled flexible work environment conducive to productivity; and, creates a dynamic riverfront by incorporating multiple pedestrian-friendly and publicly accessible spaces.
Superior design in enclosure, mechanical systems, energy efficiency and water management, as well as conscientious material selection, support River Point’s sustainability goals. It was specifically cited as a key contributing factor to Chicago’s recognition in 2017 as America's Greenest City.
Selected interior strategies include light switches with motion detectors to save energy and reduce costs as well as high efficiency air filtration systems that reduce indoor pollutants and operational costs while increasing indoor air quality with up to 100% fresh air.
Site and water management strategies include the use of native landscaping and a 50% green roof; a bio-infiltration system within landscaped areas that filters storm water prior to discharge; and, tower and plaza runoff that is collected and re-used to irrigate the green roof and landscape.
• Per the Energy Star Target Finder, River Point has achieved a score of 88.
• Per the Architecture 2030 Challenge Targets, River Point has a Predicted EUI of 35 kBtu/sf/year which should result in an energy savings of 66% relative to national baseline averages.
• Geometry of tower form decreases solar load while maximizing daylight
• Occupancy sensors dim lights when space is not occupied
• Automatically dimming, energy-efficient light fixtures
• State-of-the-art heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems reduce CO2 emissions
• Facade of clear low-E glass and a combination of painted aluminum and clear anodized aluminum maximizes daylight while minimizing solar heat gain
To significantly reduce building energy consumption, the design of River Point combines an insulated high performance building envelope and efficient HVAC systems. The exterior wall and roof constructions exhibit highly efficient thermal insulation properties; the tower’s HVAC system uses digitally controlled VAV boxes on each floor with electric heat at the perimeter; the CO sensors and occupancy sensors in parking garages and daylight dimming controls in the tower further help increase savings.
• The proposed design has efficient lighting design; especially the parking and office area lighting when compared to base case (building area method). Daylight dimming controls in the tower further helps to increase savings.
• CO monitors in parking garage, control the exhaust fan operation
• Low-flow plumbing fixtures help reduce demand for hot water which in turn reduces the building energy use for domestic hot water heating.
• The exterior walls, roof and glazing exhibit highly efficient thermal insulation properties. The insulated wall system and the roof provide considerable reduction in load due to the thermal envelope even with the higher percentage of glass than the base case.
• 0.03 Parking spaces per occupant
• Walk Score rating of 98 (Walker’s Paradise)
• The project is located within walking distance from six transit lines. Transit Score of 100 (Rider’s Paradise)
• The project provides optimum site accessibility, safety, and wayfinding with continuous movement along the waterfront edge and access to and through the tower.
• 560 linear feet of new Riverwalk
• Bicycle storage and showers for commuters
• Preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles
A key factor to the success of the overall River Point project was its mandate that it also be transformative for the people and city of Chicago. Central to the project’s vision was the design and incorporation of vibrant public plaza and connectivity to the Riverwalk.
Offering a healthful, flexible, high performance work environment, River Point fosters employee productivity and performance with state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure and, more so, is a desirable place for employees to work and gather. The building is cited as key factor in attracting both top tenants and prime talent.
The acceptance by the community has also been overwhelmingly positive, and River Point has quickly become a new civic destination along the river. At River Point’s opening, Chicago Mayor Emanuel lauded it for “creating new waterfront space for the public to enjoy, a new place to work and dine, and a great new addition to Chicago’s beautiful skyline.” Due to its visual prominence on the rivers’ confluence, River Point has become the newest attraction on the city’s infamous architectural boat tours.
As Finalist for the 2017 Urban Land Institute Global Awards for Excellence, River Point has been widely and warmly welcomed by Chicagoans. River Point contributes to the ongoing and deliberate transformation of Chicago’s long neglected riverfront. Coupled with the City of Chicago’s recently completed Riverwalk, River Point reshapes the urban fabric by creating a dynamic civic space that encourages pedestrian activity along the riverfront.
In his review, Blair Kamin concluded that River Point shows that “good modernism is not incompatible with the making of good cities.”
• In the application for LEED-CS Platinum, the project has achieved all four of the baseline credits for water efficiency.
• Green roofs are installed to reduce the heat island effect, while the Plaza absorbs stormwater and provides enjoyment to the users.
• 100% of the collected stormwater is reused for landscaping and irrigation design, reusing an average of 319 gallons of water per week.
• The design reduces outdoor water by choosing low-water-usage native and drought-resistant planting species.
One highlight of River Point is its incorporation and installation of water efficiency and potable water use reduction measures. Some of the regulated fixtures installed that result in the significant project water savings include low‐flow lavatory faucets with automatic sensors, pint‐flush urinals, high‐efficiency toilets, and low‐flow shower heads. In addition, the landscape design and irrigation equipment work in concert to eliminate the need for potable water required to maintain the vegetation on site.
• Low-emitting materials
• Use of rapidly renewable materials
• 20% Recycled and regionally sourced materials
• Selected wood FSC-certified
• 75% of construction material was diverted from landfill
The River Point project team made a concerted effort to design and construct the building to facilitate and create a comfortable working environment. Attention was paid to the quantity of outdoor air being provided to the interior spaces, chemical exposures associated with building materials, ambient light levels and access to views of the outdoors, and the thermal comfort aspects of the building and systems designs. Outdoor air rates and CO2 levels are monitored with the intent of ensuring sufficient fresh breathing zone air as a means of reducing the quantity of any contaminants and bioeffluents introduced into the building. Also, in order to reduce any further introduction of chemical contaminants to the building’s interior spaces, base-building materials that contain or emit lesser amounts of VOCs were specified and installed.
In an effort to meet River Point’s high indoor air quality expectations, the design of the floorplates, the window wall and glazing were made with the occupant experience in mind. Almost 75% of the floor area in occupied spaces will have high levels of natural light, and just under 90% of regularly occupied space will have access to views of the outdoors.
Finally, the HVAC system and building envelope were designed to facilitate acceptable thermal comfort conditions for building occupants. In concert, the above measures are expected to increase occupant satisfaction and ultimately improve worker productivity within the occupied spaces.
Design Architect (FIRM)