GREC Architects


“Our role and obligation to our clients is to solve functional challenges in an efficient way,” said Don Copper, principal at GREC Architects. “We like to see design as taking that charge to another level; of using those solutions to functional requirements in ways that create meaningful experiences for the people who live there, work there, or are within the city who will experience it just by living in the city.”When the Chicago-based architecture and design firm was brought on board for developer Sterling Bay Companies’ proposed new hotel in the Fulton Market Historic District in Chicago, the team was tasked with not only integrating the design with the surrounding neighborhood context, but also to develop a concept re-envisioning the traditional hotel model—while remaining authentic to its property site—for long-time client Ace Hotel Group.Located at 311 N. Morgan St., the Ace Hotel Chicago is nestled within a designated landmark district regarded for its wholesale market, meatpacking, loft manufacturing, and warehousing industries that contributed to the city’s economic development. While many of the buildings historically reflected a function-driven design aesthetic prioritizing utilitarian use over decoration, typologically speaking; there are notes of architectural detailing from movements such as Romanesque Revival, Chicago School, Tudor Revival, and Art Deco among the facades.“It was our priority to find a way to harmonize with the scale and material palette of the neighborhood, yet at the same time we wanted to create a building that was notable and was unique. We didn’t want it to look like we were trying to recreate a 100-year-old warehouse, so that is when the early-modern-Bauhaus concept became part of the project,” Copper said.“It was a way to acknowledge the modern architectural legacy of those early modern movements in Chicago and how that changed the face of the city—and do it in a way that would be commensurate with the scale and the materials of the neighborhood,” Copper added.

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