The FBI Chicago Field Office is an over-800,000-square-foot, three-building complex consisting of a ten-story office building, two separate guard shacks, a two-level structured parking deck, two levels of below-grade parking that total 200,000 square feet, and a connecting one-story vehicular annex facility that is over 50,000 square feet. At any time, the facility can have from 650 to 700 employees, with these totals fluctuating higher on a frequent basis. The Chicago FBI is the only tenant and the project was designed as a build-to-suit for the government. Although the building was not rated green during construction, USAA pursued certification post-occupancy and in December of 2008, was awarded the world’s first LEED Platinum certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system from USGBC.
USAA’s approach to sustainability efforts is to drive the business case. Specifically, the team effort to improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impact was driven by the desire to maximize occupant comfort, as well as improve financial performance. The facility has many sustainable policies in place that have helped us achieve an ENERGY STAR rating of a 95 and water use reduction of 43%.
The exterior is comprised of a highly-finished architectural pre-cast concrete expressing a ten-foot module around openings consisting of light blue vision glass and a bluish-colored spandrel glass panel. The combination of these two materials results in a very glassy looking building and conveys an attractive and professional appearance of this government facility. The parking garage is constructed of the same pre-cast material as the office building and is recessed into the landscape while surrounded by dense plantings.
The office building features a dramatic two-level main entryway with a large glass “net-wall” which has a stressed cable structure support. This very transparent and innovative wall helps visually and symbolically connect the inner space to the exterior plaza. The main lobby features marble panels on the west wall, granite flooring, and pre-cast concrete with wood panels on the north and south walls. Additional features include upgraded general office areas; granite walls in the elevator lobbies; and upgraded executive office areas and conference rooms with materials such as granite, custom millwork and fabric wall covering.
The building’s facade, primarily composed of architectural pre-cast concrete, is a green material readily available from sources near the site and easily recycled at the end of a product’s life. The exterior walls with the 60% pre-cast concrete and high–performance, low-emissive glass creates a very energy-efficient envelope. Larger column bays and spans increase natural light and views to the outside. The window areas on the exterior translate to ample daylight for the interior, with large window units extending from the nine-foot, six-inch ceilings to a low sill height of approximately twenty inches above the finished floor. The result is enhanced employee comfort and productivity.
The project site is 12 acres located just west of downtown Chicago in an area called the Illinois Medical District. The FBI Chicago complex creates a major landscaped green space along the entire Roosevelt Road and Damen Avenue frontages, totaling approximately four acres or 40% of the entire site area.
The facility is located in the west loop area of Chicago, Illinois, and the overall design concept embodies the key features of a modern class-A private sector office building development, including: sensitivity to the neighborhood context; creation of a flexible and attractive workplace; and inclusion of low environmental impact design concepts.
The land was previously used as a bus depot that had exceeded its useful life. The removal of this depot and the other undesirable material left on the site contributed to the revitalization of the area.