Daniel Weinbach & Partners, Ltd.
Bank of America Plaza; Chicago, Illinois
Client: Jones Lang LaSalle
Architect: Destefano + Partners
Engineers: P.A. Collins; Weidlinger Associates
Contractor: Christy Webber Landscapes
Category: Design -Urban
Originally designed in 2001 and completed in 2004 for LaSalle Bank, the site of the Bank of America 31-story office tower brings much needed public open space into an area of Chicago's West Loop filled with office, residential, and retail buildings. The development, which encompasses one full city block, features a streetscape at its perimeter, green roof space, and public plaza.
The sixth-floor roof terrace was designed to be an intensive green roof that serves as a daily retreat for employees and a functional space for company events. The central garden feature consists of two raised lawn areas that step up from the main roof level. Continuous, seat-level granite planters of multi-stem Autumn Blaze maple trees and a continuous massing of red-twig dogwood serve as a framework for the lawn areas, creating an intimate experience. Replicating the geometric lines of the building and serving as a dynamic focal element of the space is a planter consisting of perennials, ornamental grasses, and evergreen groundcovers.
Functioning as the front door to the modernist office tower, the ground level plaza creates a public, contemporary urban garden, designed with sustainable practices. The plaza is situated over an underground parking garage, so large, granite planters were required to achieve adequate soil depths to sustain the grove of trees that provide the human scale structure for the space.
The roof garden and public plaza function as extensions of the building architecture, and, despite being significantly separated by elevation, are cohesively related through both direct experiences and views from adjacent buildings. To provide this continuity, the landscape architect utilized elements from the same conservative palette of hardscape and plant materials. When viewed from the surrounding high-rise buildings, the adjacent planes of the sixth floor garden and ground level plaza appear as one, bringing unity to the site and maintaining the contemporary aesthetic of the building architecture. The result: dynamic green spaces that are not only respite places for users, but visually sensitive to the building's neighbors.