200 W. Madison

Chicago building codes prevented the owners of the 200 W. Madison office building from extending the lobby area any farther onto the sidewalk.

So, owners looked to designers from Powell/Kleinschmidt, also of Chicago, to create an enclosure that would qualify as a public space while serving as an extended lobby for the building, says Bill Arnold, project designer.

“In order to expand the lobby, we had to have it qualify as a legal definition of a winter garden. So, we extended the marble out from the interior and covered the entire plaza with glass,” Arnold says.

The owners required maximum transparency in the enclosure, so the famed sculpture “Dawn Shadows” by Louise Nevelson would still be showcased for passersby. Designers used 50 ultra-clear, low-iron laminated glass panels for the wall, Arnold says, with the largest panes measuring 9 feet wide by 15 feet long and minimal hardware to achieve even more transparency.

“We’re still exposing the artwork to the street, and now also to the lobby interior,” Arnold says. “A lot of people think the art looks better than ever before. It’s almost as if it’s sitting on a white marble carpet.”

The roof features 70 insulating and laminated units with a custom frit pattern to control glare and solar heat gain. The roof and wall glass panels all have a low-emissivity coating.

Novum Structures LLC of Menomonee Falls, Wis., provided its PSG-System, ASG-System and AES-System for the project. The 8,375-square-foot, $1.4 million structure was completed in November 2005.

Harmon Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn., served as the contract glazier, and Viracon of Owatonna, Minn., was the glass fabricator.