Project Completion Year
Project Location: City
Project Location: State
Project Location: Country
United States of America
EMME is a LEED Gold Certified residential tower located in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop. This project was designed to be a green sanctuary in a heavily urban neighborhood. Landscaped open spaces are provided at the building entry, the elevated amenity deck and at the rooftop pool deck. More than 8,000 SF of roof area is dedicated to urban farming. At the building entry, a garden plaza serves as the backdrop for the monument commemorating the Haymarket Square riot, which occurred at the site on May 4, 1886. The site planning of EMME responds to the Haymarket monument with a pocket park intended to provide a natural setting for contemplation of the monument. EMME is programmed and designed to promote a sense of community among the residents, and to encourage awareness of sustainable lifestyle practices. Amenity spaces throughout the building are designed to accommodate group activities such as games, co-working, parties and cooking. Special events are programmed to bring residents together and to educate, such as cooking classes by locally renowned chefs using ingredients grown on the rooftop farm. Friendly competitions are held to measure energy efficiencies between different resident floors in the building.
Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation
A wholistic and experiential approach to sustainability shaped the overall design approach for EMME. A LEED Gold Certified residential tower in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop, EMME is designed as a sanctuary in a heavily urban neighborhood. Natural light and experiential inside to outside connections are discovered throughout the building, many at unexpected moments. Through thoughtful site planning, landscaped open spaces captivate the senses at the building entry and then again emerge as extensions of the communal spaces at the elevated amenity deck and at the rooftop pool deck. The glow of the 2-story lobby interior filters through the garden entry, welcoming residents to their home. This interaction between inside and outside space becomes a captivating surround for a historic streetscape monument commemorating the Haymarket Square riot, which occurred at the site on May 4, 1886.
The garden experience filters inside as plants fill the entryway and lead to the heart of the lobby. Notable reclaimed and natural material finishes, as well as art and natural light highlight the lobby and loft space above. The lobby lounge is surrounded on the outside by bermed landscape, giving the feeling as if in a sunken living room in a garden.
Reclaimed wood treads, from the former building’s structure, create a feature stair that leads to a glassy walkway at the loft area above the Concierge. Extending from the lofted leasing area, the walkway connects to resident amenities, including an intimate lofted library space and to the playful dog terrace beyond, while allowing light to filter through to the space below. An oculus skylight filters natural light through the feature stair and highlights a sense of connection to the landscaped amenity terrace above.
Access to natural daylight continues into the tower amenities as well. The multi-functional amenity lounge at the third floor features a full-room length linear skylight bringing natural light through the entire length of the lounge, creating an open, airy feeling that extends directly out to the grassy amenity deck. An urban farm utilizes the green roof at this level and at the tower roof. The design of the amenity spaces supports the sense of community among the residents and encourage awareness of sustainable lifestyle practices, both of which are at the heart of life at EMME.
EMME was designed to perform 38% better than the current national energy code, achieving thermal comfort while reducing energy use and carbon emissions. The building features high-efficiency glazing, insulation, heat pumps for heating and cooling, and centralized hot water heating. A green roof tops the tower and occupies a majority of the elevated amenity deck. Energy efficiency features in the units include NEST smart thermostats, Energy Star-rated appliances, and LED lamps. A web-based, real time utility monitoring system was also installed for easy performance tracking throughout operations of the building.
• Total annual energy savings: 1,633,163 kWh
• 38% annual energy savings compared with a standard building
Friendly competitions are held to measure energy efficiencies between different resident floors in the building, further engaging residents in their surroundings. EMME earned Gold Certification under USGBC LEED 2009.
EMME is situated in a highly desirable location in Chicago’s West Loop Gateway neighborhood with connections to the Green line, Metra, numerous bus lines, Divvy Stations and car shares. There is also a large bike room at the ground floor of the building with convenient entry, as well as two electric car charging stations on-site.
• Walk Score: 97
• Bike Score: 86
• Transit Score: 100
The location is well-known for its connection to the Haymarket Affair of 1886, and the memorial sculpture for the riots, which pays tribute to the workers who rallied for fair labor laws, is located at the property. Through collaborative site planning, the building entry is set back from the street and a landscaped pocket park provides a welcoming respite to residents, as well as a lush backdrop for the monument. In the evening hours, the glow of the lobby interior highlights the work of another local artist and completes the indoor-outdoor feel of this inviting resting point within its urban surround.
EMME is further rooted in its community through programming and feature design elements. Partnered with The Roof Crop, a local urban farm, two rooftop gardens are cultivated and maintained at EMME and will provide produce for local restaurants and grocers, as well as learning opportunities for residents.
Through collaboration with local artists and artesians, beautiful feature elements shape communal amenity spaces throughout. Hand-made tiles and sculpted wall art from local craftsmen and women highlight the rooftop amenity lounge. The custom concierge desk features a heavy timber beam from the site’s former building, embedded in a smooth, white plinth - a collaboration with neighborhood fabricators. Curated works from local artists, including a rich, encaustic canvas extending from a dedicated ceiling niche in the resident mail room, a brilliant full-wall tapestry in the lobby lounge, and a suspended twisted wire sculpture – a piece by the artist of the Haymarket Monument – are all feature commissions for EMME’s interior.
EMME uses re-claimed condensate from the rooftop mechanical unit to help supply the cooling towers and contribute to landscape irrigation. Green roof at the tower roof and amenity deck levels capture rainwater and contribute to the overall stormwater management. All drinking fountains are equipped with bottle fillers, encouraging efficient water use and ultimately reducing landfill waste. Residential units feature water efficient plumbing features (1.0 gpf toilets, 1.75 gpm showerheads, 1.2 gpm lavs, 1.5 gpm kitchen faucets).
• Annual water savings: 2,351,471 gallons
• 32 % savings compared with a standard building
EMME is highlighted throughout by thoughtful material and lighting selection. Using natural light as a design element, spaces are transformed throughout the day as natural light streams through carefully placed skylights and feature windows, creating dynamic highlights and shadows throughout may of the resident amenity spaces. Views out to the landscape are at prominent vantage points, further enhancing the indoor-outdoor connections. Local and reclaimed materials, as well as materials known for their contribution to healthy indoor air quality, were selected throughout.
• Amenity spaces feature locally made materials, including handmade tile from a Chicago artisan at the 14th floor lounge space.
• Heavy timber columns were reclaimed from the building that formerly occupied the site and incorporated into the custom concierge desk.
• Timber joists from the existing building were re-milled and used for flooring in the elevator lobby and resident mail room, as well as for the treads for the feature stair to the loft library.
• Low-emitting paints contribute to an overall better indoor air quality throughout.
• Flooring throughout the units is FloorScore certified and made from 97% post-industrial recycled content material.
• Cradle to Cradle carpet tile, recycled rubber flooring and porcelain tile with recycled content demonstrate material reutilization.
• Excess porcelain tile, saved during the residential unit backsplash installation, is repurposed to finish walls of the amenity level toilet rooms.
• Exposing structural concrete as elements reduced the need for additional finished material in the Lobby and 3rd floor amenity lounge.
• 100% wool felt defines ceilings and wall elements at the Loft and 3rd floor amenity spaces.
Design Architect (FIRM)