200 Squared Debuts as Green Architectural Gem in Chicago’s Loop

Chicago--200 Squared, a 42-story apartment property, was developed to be one of the greenest residential high-rises in the Loop.

Chicago–The intersection of Lake and Wells streets in Chicago is now home to 200 Squared, a 42-story apartment property developed to be one of the greenest residential high-rises in the Loop.

Midwest Property Group Ltd., which completed development of 200 Squared just a few months ago, turned to the architectural firm of Solomon Cordwell Buenz to ensure that the 329-unit tower would feature a design centered on sustainability. A designer of property types ranging from commercial and educational buildings to transportation facilities, SCB is more than a little familiar with such directives. “We are always trying to advance our designs and stay in tune with what the desires of the occupants are going to be,” Jim Curtin, principal with SCB, tells MHN.

The focus on energy conservation at 200 Squared goes a long way in increasing the property’s efficiency. “It’s not horribly difficult to achieve,” he says. “The Chicago energy code does a nice job of establishing a basic foothold of green design. It’s a good program in terms of reducing and monitoring energy use.” One energy-saving feature is the prevalence of floor-to-ceiling windows in the building, which allows for a greater amount of natural lighting. “We also utilized translucent glass that softens the light.”

SCB also employed bamboo siding. “We used bamboo instead of veneer or woods. It’s highly sustainable and we like the aesthetic of it.”

One of the most dramatic green elements at 200 Squared is literally green. “There are 8,500 square feet of green roof–but we see it as an amenity,” Curtin notes. “There are two levels of green roofs–on the 11th and 13th floors. One will incorporate a dog run, and on the amenity deck there are green patches of vegetation. And on the very top, there is an additional green roof to help dissipate heat.”

The apartment building’s sustainable features extend beyond design; location plays a role, too. The building sits across from an L station, so as a transit-oriented development, 200 Squared was green before the first shovel hit the ground. However, there are still drivers in the Windy City, so the developer managed to inject an eco-friendly option for those who get behind the wheel regularly–the garage offers charges for electric cars. Bikes are also available for rent.

And the sustainability theme continues inside the studio, one- and two-bedroom residences with Energy Star appliances and water-saving plumbing fixtures. “Sustainability is a good thing,” says Curtin. “We think people enjoy having a building that is responsive to that.”

Curtin also expects to get an official green thumbs-up from the U.S. Green Building Council. “We’re looking to get LEED certification finalized this summer.”

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