Defrosting A Construction Site: Beautiful Ice Crystals Inside a Chicago Adaptive Reuse Project

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, January 11, 2013
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(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

Perkins+Will is designing one cool corporate headquarters for bike components manufacturer, SRAM, in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Located inside the 1K Fulton development by the Sterling Bay Companies, an adaptive reuse of a ten-story cold storage warehouse, two floors of offices will include bleacher seating for group meetings, a product development shop, and even an interior cycling test track. But before construction could begin, there was one small problem most architects rarely encounter: the construction site needed to be defrosted after essentially serving as a building-size refrigerator since 1923.

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

After decades keeping fish and meets cold inside its insulated concrete walls, the Fulton Market Cold Storage Warehouse had developed a thick coating of ice forming a mesmerizing cavern of crystals, icicles, and eerie stalagmites rising up from the floor. As beautiful as the display might be, the ice was not conducive to modern office environments and had to go. Last November, propane heaters were brought in to help melt the ice and clear the site for construction. See the time lapse video of the melting in action below.

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

Currently under construction, portions of the brick facade  will be peeled away, exposing the building’s concrete frame and allowing for large windows to fill 1K Fulton’s interior with daylight. Designed by Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architects, the ten-story warehouse will be flanked by a six-story annex structure bringing its total size to 545,000 square feet. The development has generated quite a bit of hype since it was announced, as rumors that Google would locate in the building swirled around the internet. To cater to creative and tech companies like SRAM Bikes, developers have included amenities like dedicated bike parking and even on-site bicycle detailing and repair.

Watch a live construction feed on the project’s website and check out more on the building’s history at Edible Geography. [H/T Perkins+Will Blog]

(Eric Mersmann/Courtesy Perkins+Will)

(Eric Mersmann/Courtesy Perkins+Will)

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

One Response to “Defrosting A Construction Site: Beautiful Ice Crystals Inside a Chicago Adaptive Reuse Project”

  1. YT says:

    The concept is wonderful, and the space will be great to work in. I noted the hint of red at the chair casters. Referential of the Red line of bicycle drivetrain?

    I wonder, however, why take a building that is heavily insulated, and essentially un-insulate it by replacing an entire exterior wall with glass? The opposite of energy efficient.

    Looks great though.

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