GREC Architects


In the world of luxury residential real estate, building techniques and design features mimic fashion trends, changing ever more quickly as the materials and amenities du jour come into vogue. But Chicago’s current crop of luxury towers makes one thing clear: Green residences are here to stay. It’s clear from the success of Fifield  Realty Corp.’s recent buildings that luxury renters are equally enamored with sustainability. River North’s NEXT Apartments (347 W. Chestnut St., 312.883.5775,, a striking, amenity-laden luxury high-rise completed in late 2016, recently became the first Chicago building to earn the Green Building Initiative’s Three Green Globes certification, equivalent to the better known and always hard-won LEED Gold.But the prolific developer isn’t stopping here; Green Globes certification is pending for its new Gold Coast luxury project, The Sinclair. “Today, most buildings are already efficient thanks to modern construction methods—they already meet the initial levels for green certifications like LEED and Green Globes. But that’s not enough for us,” says Fifield Companies project manager Givi Peradze. “Our residents are concerned with this, and we are too and our buildings are becoming increasingly more sustainable.”So are Chicago’s current crop of luxury  residential projects. Cases in point include the West Loop’s EMME (165 N. Desplaines St., 312.930.6605, from GREC Architects, which attained LEED Gold certification—a process that usually takes at least a year—an astonishing three months after opening, and two high-profile, design-driven projects still under construction from world-renowned starchitects Helmut Jahn (1000M in the historic Michigan Avenue Boulevard District, 1006 S. Michigan Ave.,312.313.7841, and Robert A.M. Stern (One Bennett Park in Streeterville, 451 E. Grand Ave., 312.832.2300, onebennettpark. com).While all of these buildings incorporate state-of-the-art green features, from energysaving technologies such as high-efficiency mechanical systems, appliances, fixtures and lighting to low impact, zero-VOC renewable materials, and sport desirable amenities galore, they also set new benchmarks with innovative features that enhance residents’ lifestyles, improve their health, and foster and broaden their sense of community. At EMME, an 8,000-square-foot roof—”a space that’s traditionally underutilized,” notes GREC Architects principal Don Copper—has been ceded to The Roof Crop for on-site urban farming. The yields will be made available to residents and sold to local chefs, who will be part of a cooking demonstration program EMME is developing thanks to its state-of-theart demonstration kitchen.

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