Thorsten Johann
Design Principal
Studio Gang, Chicago

Charles Hasbrouck
bKL Architecture, Chicago

Defining a new edge of the city, Vista Tower tightly knits the downtown Lakeshore East community in Chicago to its surroundings with unprecedented urban connections and enhanced public access to the Chicago River. Residential and hotel amenities combine at the upper levels, creating a vibrant social center. At ground level, the building creates an essential pedestrian connection between the Chicago Riverwalk and the nearby community park’s outdoor recreational facilities. Looking up from the river and park, the tower presents itself as three interconnected volumes of differing heights. Moving rhythmically in and out of plane, the overall flowing appearance of the building is the result of an alternating geometry between these three volumes. The application of the glass technology implemented on the project is fully examined as well; the Vista Tower features the first application of the cutting-edge “coating on demand” technology at this scale, and involved six different custom coat colors in order to create the tower’s signature gradient. The multi-hued exterior additionally helps reduce injury to native birds. The building’s dimensions have the added benefit of accentuating corner views and allocating green space at various height, reflecting how the building was designed from the inside-out in order to prioritize the inhabitant experience before coming to details on the façade and eternal elements. Key details that shaped Vista’s programmatic elements and aesthetic concept are explored through the context of how the supertall typology can integrate successfully with public and private amenities.