Chicago magazine

The COVID-Proof Office

TECHNICALLY, IT’S CALLED THE PORCH. BUT CONSIDERING THAT THE FIVE-STORY, 6,000-square-foot terrace to be incorporated into an 18-story office building at 330 North Green Street will be bigger than a regulation NBA basketball court, a better nickname might be the Grandstand or the Amphitheater. Maybe even the Park. After all, the open-air deck will feature wooden swings, fire pits, even 40-foot-tall maple trees.

The architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill had contemporary design trends, not a virus, in mind when it designed the West Town high-rise, future — of post-COVID commercial offices in Chicago. The pandemic won’t kill the office, say local architects and designers, but it has already started to transform it. Get ready for sunnier and smaller buildings, touchless technology, socially distanced desks, upgraded air systems, and lots and lots of outdoor space.

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