How Sustainable Strategies Guided the St. Regis Chicago Design

Green Building & Design Magazine


Towering at 101 stories, The St. Regis Hotel and Residences is hard to miss in the Chicago skyline. It’s the third tallest building in the city, and it includes beautiful new five-star lodging.

As the Architect of Record for the entire project, bKL Architecture oversaw and managed a team of more than 25 consultants, including seven other architectural and interior design firms. “We coordinated and managed a pretty enormous team of consultants,” says Charles Hasbrouck, director of bKL. The exterior form and material selections were designed by Studio Gang.

Hasbrouck says bKL approaches every project with sustainability in mind, and the St. Regis was no different. Strategies like rainwater retention were implemented for irrigation, and the building’s dense, urban location includes great proximity to public transportation.

Scott Farbman, design engineer and LEED consultant on the project, says LEED can help to push a project’s sustainability goals forward, even if it’s just a starting point. “When we are thinking about sustainable outcomes, goals, and strategies, we do let LEED often drive the process, but there are things that happen outside of the LEED framework, which can be limited in scope. At a high level following the credits and protocols of LEED really helps us better select things like materials and finishes, the products used within the building, lighting, the HVAC systems—pretty much everything comes with a certain performance requirement attached to it that really helps promote and drive sustainability and also occupant health and wellness,” he says. “When you put all that together, you get something like the St. Regis, and the hotel specifically.

On the exterior Studio Gang used high-performing glazing as a primary sustainability strategy. A gradient on the hotel’s exterior is tailored to channel solar heat and keep interior temperatures comfortable throughout. In construction, rebar, aluminum component window wall assembly, post tension strand cable, gypsum board, metal framing stud, steel pipe casing, concrete, and other materials with significant recycled content reduced impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials. The project also diverted more than 75% of construction waste to redirect recyclable material back to the manufacturing process.

Inside, sustainable accents can be seen throughout the property, including curated art featuring reclaimed materials behind the front desk. “Focusing on the complexities of a building like St. Regis, it makes it very challenging to do something that is quote-unquote as simple as LEED,” Farbman says. “LEED can be fairly easily implemented into many building types and project types, but when you scale it up to a project of the size and caliber of St. Regis, it becomes inherently more complicated and complex.”

He says the number of entities involved and the time it takes to get a project this large completed can be challenging. “You need someone to manage and champion the sustainability process, and that person needs to be there for 10 years or so. It’s a very big undertaking, and I would applaud the success of a project like St. Regis.”

The project is expected to achieve LEED Silver.

Project Details

Project: St. Regis Chicago
Location: Chicago
Completion: Summer 2023
Size: 1,982,846 square feet
Design Architect: Studio Gang
Architect of Record: bKL Architecture
Design Engineer & LEED consultant: dbHMS
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Wind Engineer: RWDI
Contractor: McHugh Construction
Interior Design: KTGY + Simeone Deary Design Group, Gensler
Acoustics: Shiner Acoustics
Hotel Lighting: CD+M, Reveal Design Group
Landscape Architect: OLIN
Certifications: Targeting LEED Silver