Nominated by: Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
Location: Evanston, IL
Developer: Albion Residential
Architect: Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
General Contractor: Clark Construction
Interior Designer: Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
Project Website: www.albionevanston.com
Albion Evanston is a striking addition to the city’s skyline. The 16-story, 322,000-square-foot multi-use high-rise features 287 apartments, extensive amenities and outdoor spaces, and 9,000 square feet of retail space. The client aspired to deliver an upscale residential building with condo-level finishes and amenities found in downtown properties, while showcasing its urban location overlooking Lake Michigan.
The transit-oriented site anchors the Sherman Avenue shopping district. With a range of unit layouts and price points, the property can cater to Northwestern University students, young professionals and empty nesters. The development was designed to reinvigorate an underutilized, partially vacant block; increase density in downtown Evanston; and promote sustainable living for residents.
Albion Evanston’s distinctive architectural form efficiently utilizes its irregular, nearly triangular lot shape — while reinforcing unique site characteristics. Its sinuous and curvy structure gently curves along the commuter train lin’s route that abuts its west side, and echoes how downtown Evanston rotates 21 degrees from north to south as the lake’s shoreline shifts.
The tower is split along its central axis with the sides offset and canted to represent the passing vehicles and the image of movement. The offset window patterning alludes to light coming through the moving windows of trains projected onto adjacent surfaces. The three-story masonry base references the forms and materials of neighboring vintage low rises, while incorporating fenestration patterns from the residential tower above to tie the two forms together.
The tower is set back to maintain the low-rise scale at street level and to open up the view to Fountain Square. The custom-designed window wall serves as both the exterior cladding as well as the interior finish, realizing aesthetic purposes as well as cost efficiencies. Rather than a combination of metal panel and windows, the window wall is a single-source, insulated system.