This week is one of everyone’s favorite weeks – the construction site visit! Team 7 headed up to the Gold Coast neighborhood to check out a Chicago landmark undergoing a major change, the Viceroy Hotel.

The mentors and students first met at the Lou Malnati’s next to the site to enjoy some deep dish and learn about the project. The team from Power walked us through the details of the project, including budget and schedule. The Viceroy is an international, high-end hotel group, and for this particular location, they purchased the old Cedar Hotel and decided to give it a face lift (or really, the exact opposite of a face lift, since the original facade had to be restored back to its original condition).

The front of the new Viceroy Hotel, as viewed from State St.

The front of the new Viceroy Hotel, as viewed from State St.

The gorgeous glass tower now coming out of the original brick and terra cotta facade will be LEED certified, stand 220 feet tall, contain roughly 167,000 square feet of space, and cost about $70 million.

After learning about these details, we got to throw some hard hats on and walk through the building. In a few smaller groups, the students and mentors headed up the construction elevator to the top to get a sense of what the new roof deck will look like. Since it was pretty chilly, we quickly moved in doors. Making our way slowly down the building, we saw hotel rooms that were progressively more complete – at the top, we saw rooms that were still just metal studs, then down a few floors there were rooms with bare drywall, and then down a few more and there were rooms with bright paint on the walls.

With hard hats on, the groups were ready to head to the top of the building.

With hard hats on, the groups were ready to head to the top of the building.

Team 7 Week 4 - 3

It was an exciting job to see, and it really makes you appreciate the complexity of a building project. Not only do you need to plan for all the materials to get to the site, but there’s also a lot of coordination required to get everything to fit where it needs to go.

Next week, we will be back in the warm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.