The Pickard Chilton Boathouse we didn’t get

Pickard Chilton Boathouse

Rendering from Pickard Chilton of a proposed boathouse at River Point.

An innocent Wednesday-morning tweet led me down a rabbit hole, and I eventually climbed out through the website of Pickard Chilton, the New Haven, Connecticut-based architecture firm known in Chicago for designing River Point and 300 North LaSalle, plus one of my out-of-town favorites, the Northwestern Mutual Tower in Milwaukee.

One item on the Pickard Chilton projects page in particular caught my attention; The Boathouse. A proposed development for Hines, The Boathouse was designed to go where River Point Plaza stands now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all unhappy with either River Point or its plaza, but this boathouse would have been an awesome addition to the Chicago River. Maybe another location? It could look marvelous down on the South Branch too.

All of the following images of The Boathouse are from Pickard Chilton.

River Point Plaza

River Point Plaza, where The Boathouse would have been built. (B.U.C. image)

Wandering Milwaukee: The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons opens today

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons is set to open Monday, August 21.

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

A rendering via Northwestern Mutual from out on the water, a view I haven’t had.

Monday August 21 will mark the opening of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. (Download a fact sheet with a wealth of information here)

Thanks once again to Summerfest, I got another chance (I walked around the site last year; post here) to see the tower in July. Other than work on the three-acre Northwestern Mutual Garden, it looked like a completed construction site. It took a visit to the interwebs to find out Northwestern employees had yet to move in to their new digs. As per the aforementioned fact sheet, workers will start moving in on Friday, four floors at a time, until all have been relocated in October.

32 stories, 550 feet tall, weighing in at a whole lot of tons, the tower will be home to 2,400 Northwestern Mutual employees, and The Commons will be open to the public.

Congratulations to the entire team:

For more on the opening of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons, visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.

A couple photo galleries for ya:

July 2017

A few from July 2016


River Point is open!

River Point Plaza

Looking north through River Point Plaza, with the Kinzie Street railroad bridge standing at attention on the right.

River Point, the 52-story office tower from Hines, is now open. That’s likely uncontrollably exciting to those of you who have or will have your new office at 444 West Lake Street in the West Loop, but it’s quite a spectacle for the rest of us, too.

I haven’t been inside yet (insert hopeful emoji here), but I took a stroll through River Point Plaza Thursday evening. The one-and-a-half-acre park, designed by landscape architect The Office of James Burnett, sits above the fork in the Chicago River, offering views to the east past the Merchandise Mart, and to the north toward the Kinzie Street railroad bridge. During construction of River Point, Hines promised us a spectacular public park at the foot of the tower. What Hines delivered is, in fact, a spectacular park at the foot of the tower. But don’t take my word for it. Take my photos that follow instead, then get yourselves over and see for yourself.

Kudos to everyone involved in the River Point project, including design architect Pickard Chilton, civil engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates, and contractors Lendlease and Clark Construction. Magnificent work, all around!

River Point Plaza is starting to look like a park of dreams

River Point Plaza

Some day soon, we’ll be able to hang out in River Point Plaza, gazing up at the glorious new tower.

The one-and-a-half-acre park at the foot of River Point looks more and more inviting every day. That means soon, on days like Tuesday when it was in the high 70s in Chicago, the public will be able to take a book out onto the elevated plaza and enjoy the views of the Chicago River below, and the new office tower directly overhead. Developer Hines (remember our visit to 53W53 last week?) plans to have River Point and its plaza open in early 2017.


More Milwaukee: Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons, 720 East Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Back in late June, the Mrs. went up to Milwaukee and brought back a couple souvenirs for me: photos of the under-construction Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons. Thankful for the keepsakes, I posted what I thought I knew about the project. A reader named John Anderson soon let me know, however, that I knew a lot less than I thought I did, and I had erroneously lumped two projects — and their respective information — into one post. (777 West Van Buren is the second project. I’ll post about that another day.)

Well, lucky for me, Sting visited Milwaukee this month. And when Sting is in Milwaukee, you drop everything and go to Milwaukee. That gave me a chance to sing “Roxanne” at the top of my lungs, and to take my own walk around downtown Milwaukee and see what Northwestern Mutual is up to for myself.

So, here’s what I think I now know:

The Tower portion of this project, at 720 East Wisconsin Avenue,  will be 32 stories high, and about 550 feet tall, with the Commons portion extending to the tower’s west. It is a design from Pickard Chilton of New haven, Ct. Northwestern Mutual is, of course, the developer, along with Hines (think River Point here in Chicago, along with a whole lot of others.) Gilbane Building Company is the general contractor. Completion comes in 2017.

That was exhausting. How about some photos from a glorious July afternoon in Milwaukee:

Yes, that’s a lot of photos. Let me know if I got any details wrong, folks.



Introducing RP150 to the Chicago Skyline


May, 2016. RP150 rises above the Metra tracks in the West Loop.

Eurythmics. Wham. Go West. Daft Punk. Air Supply. Names that conjure up images of groups, yet only represent a duo. Now you can add a Chicago act to that list: RP150.

You may know RP150 as two separate entities. But to me, they’re like peas and carrots. It’s hard to remember what this city looked like without them, and now they’ll be here, together, forever.

150 North Riverside is a 54-story office building, designed by the Chicago architecture firm Goettsch Partners, between Lake Street, Randolph Street, and the Chicago River. Right next to it, on the north side of Lake Street, is River Point, a 52-story office tower at 444 West Lake Street designed by Pickard Chilton. Being developed by Riverside Investment & Development Company, and Hines, respectively, the two neighbors will deliver about 2,250,000 rentable square feet to the West Loop. There will also be nearly three full acres of public park space, for those of us who don’t need to rent an office in either building. And glass. Lots of shiny glass.