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Unicom Cooling Plant

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Chicago, Illinois – Franklin/Van Buren District

Originally owned and operated by Exelon Thermal Technologies, ESA’s second district plant for the company has been characterized as a “potent architectural presence” and “civilized urban design.” At the time of its construction, it was the single largest ice storage facility in the world.

Located on a highly visible site adjacent to the Congress Expressway and the Chicago River, the 40,000 sf plant’s design is both site specific and expressive of function. A curved green glass wall serves as a “bookend” to the graceful sweep of the neighboring 333 Wacker Drive building. The tank’s massive, cast-in-place buttressed concrete walls relate to the aesthetic of the expressway piers nearby. A galvanized screen on the rooftop masking evaporative condensers takes its visual vocabulary from expressway signage structures. At night the building comes alive with views into the mechanical areas.

R E C O G N I T I O N

AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award
Illinois Engineering Council Project of the Year
Chicago Athenaeum Distinguished Building Award
Exhibition: New Chicago Architecture, Chicago Athenaeum
Chicago Building Congress Award of Recognition
Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute Regional Design Award
Metal Construction Association Merit Award