Second Tuesdays: The First Twenty-Six

We started a thing in our office this year called Second Tuesdays where two employees give a presentation on the second Tuesday of each month about what’s going on with the firm — what they want to cover and how they choose to do so is entirely their choice, with no prior review. The first one was last week, it became more of a history of the firm and turned out to be pretty funny as well. Click here to take a look at the video.

25 Years: United Airlines Red Carpet Club

Brininstool + Lynch’s design of United Airlines’ Red Carpet Club at O’Hare’s ‘B’ Concourse offers travelers relief from the congestion of the terminal holding area and brings them through a series of spaces that offer a serene environment for work and relaxation. Modular wood screens at the perimeter of the space create an abundance of natural light, providing warmth and comfort as well as a carefully screened visual connection to the outside operations of the airport. Specific lounge areas are distinguished by furniture and materials and are anchored by a circulation core of glass, stainless steel, and stone.

25 Years: Brininstool + Lynch Offices

Brininstool + Lynch first designed this 7,500-square foot, three-story building twelve years ago for a group of theoretical physicists. B + L removed the front of the 1920s brick-and-concrete building and replaced it with a beautifully detailed steel-and-glass façade, and completely renovated the interior. The building became available in late 2012, just as Brininstool + Lynch was looking for new office space, and the firm built out its studios on the top two floors. A soffit floats above the studio from one end of the building to the other, providing a concealed space for mechanical equipment and lighting. Millwork volumes separate workspaces from conference rooms, and translucent glass provides privacy where desired while still admitting light.

25 Years: Arup SoundLab

Arup enlisted Brininstool + Lynch to collaborate in designing an enclosure for their new SoundLab within their existing Chicago office, located in the historic Jewelers Building. The room was conceived as a glowing, living object in their space to project the importance of this growing market sector for Arup. We created an acoustical envelope from conventional framing, gypsum board, and a thick layer of fabric-wrapped sound absorbing panels on the interior. On the exterior of the room, translucent acrylic wall panels are set in gasketed aluminum channels and are backlit with a programmable LED fixture that can range in color across the RGB spectrum. The detail of this illuminated acrylic has made SoundLab the physical and conversational focal point of Arup’s Chicago practice.

25 Years: Wood House

Designing this Chicago residence was an exercise in creating a sense of privacy within an urban neighborhood, while providing an abundance of open, bright space. The first floor is defined by floor-to-ceiling views from the landscape in the front to the courtyard at back; from living room, to kitchen, to media room. The second floor has private rooms with northern and eastern light, appropriate for comfortable sleeping spaces. The third floor provides solitude for working and adjacent outdoor areas of repose that encompass views over the courtyard, the neighborhood, and to the city skyline. Together, they comprise a rational and inspiring response to the basic needs of living, sleeping, and working. The views, copper screens, connections to the exterior, and careful detailing create a serene and distinctive environment.

25 Years: Enova

Brininstool + Lynch used several creative strategies to divide the 18,000-square-foot floor plate of Enova's office into distinct and recognizable zones. The elevator and stair core is enclosed in bright blue acrylic sheets that are offset from the wall and backlit to create a glowing blue box that is visible from almost every vantage point on the floor. Private offices and audio/video conference rooms – enclosed in either translucent or transparent glass – surround the core on the east, west, and north sides, with two of those sides facing walls of windows. Brininstool + Lynch also created a 150-foot-long feature wall, constructed of custom formed recycled fiberboard panels set in an irregular, undulating pattern that creates a wave-like effect. The design of this office successfully weaves together function and aesthetics, exceeding the client's expectations and leaving a strong and positive impression on employees and visitors.

25 Years: Basecamp

Basecamp, a web based software company in Chicago, hinges on the philosophy “less is more” in both their software design approach and their business objectives. To design an effective yet minimalistic workspace, a rectangular volume of team rooms intended for project specific collaboration was inserted into an open plan. The volume is wrapped in a custom configuration of sound absorbing material: stacked industrial felt strips reminiscent of chalkboard erasers. The felt material frames large magnetic chalkboard and glass panels that are inset into the central volume. To provide contrast to the neutral grays and blacks and increase sound absorption, custom cork panels line the interior of the team rooms and a red carpet tile was designed for the floors. In response to their new 10,000 square foot loft workspace, the company’s founder says, “our own work is all about paying attention to the small stuff, and the design brings a thoughtful response to that.”

25 Years: Coffou Cottage

This cottage was designed with a simple structural system, a horizontal red cedar rain screen on the north, and a wall of operable glass on the south. The open plan of the kitchen, dining room, living area, and porch intensifies views to the meadow and woods to the south while also maximizing solar gain in the winter. Radiant heat in the ground concrete floor is enhanced by passive solar gain and runs throughout the three-bedroom cottage. A fireplace positioned in the front hallway divides the bedrooms from the living area, and a custom sofa bench set into the wall across from it creates a traditional fireplace inglenook.

25 Years: R+D 659

To best optimize views and sunlight, this mixed-use project consists of two residential slabs set against the street and the highway—the resultant corner identifies the building’s entry while also marking an entrance to Chicago from the highway. The inner, overlooking residences are developed with full height glass and projected balconies to heighten their experience, while street side residences have floating spandrels and inset terraces to mediate their exposure. Similar materials, forms, and detail are seen in both the interior and exterior architecture of this building.