Jacobs/Ryan Associates
One Superior Place Pool Terrace; Chicago, Illinois

Client: Stellar Managementn
Architect: Sullivan Goulette and Wilson
Engineers: Rymat Engineering; SP Engineers
Contractors: Block Electric; Countryside Industries; Fiber Optic Studios; Landek Specialties
Consultants: Architectural Objects, Inc.; Halloran & Yauch, Inc.; Pilipuf-Grist and Associcates
Category: Design - Residential

Among the high-rises in the River North area of Chicago, a new rooftop garden has bloomed. One Superior Place is one of the largest rental buildings on the city's north side, containing over 800 units and home to singles, young families and empty nesters. While the building offers numerous resident amenities, the existing pool terrace, a spartan concrete deck, contained little more than a few planters and an assortment of worn-out furniture. As a result, it was underutilized by residents.

Asked to create something special of the ordinary space, the landscape architect worked with the owner to maximize its potential in an effort to increase occupancy. The outcome is a curvilinear plan which provides intimate garden spaces and larger, activity-oriented places for lounging and outdoor dining. The existing pool area was doubled in size to accommodate sunbathers, while pergolas were added to provide shade for those seeking respite.

The pergolas, of Ipé hardwood, gray slate, and stainless steel evolved into important architectural statements that reinforce the curvilinear design idiom and create a rhythm of integrated, interesting spaces. The pergolas were fashioned with internally illuminated column covers, inspired by the vision of rising champagne bubbles or falling starlight. The effect at night is magical as the columns subtly illuminate the terrace.

A refined palette of materials also contributes to the terrace atmosphere. The perimeter consists of undulating, Ipé-faced planters filled with lush plantings that wrap the entire space in ribbons of exotic hardwood and color. Old fencing was replaced with a new stainless steel post-and-cable system, the transparency of which visually increases the openness and connectivity of the terrace spaces.

Host to yoga and tai chi lessons, evening swims, and social and grilling activities, the terrace is now well used by the residents. As the first stop on prospective tenant tours and a contributing factor to the current 100% occupancy rate, the space has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most beautiful terraces in the City of Chicago.