Icon for a Clean Chicago
By placing the base of the tower at the back of the site and creating a public riverfront plaza, Clean Tower becomes a place for people to connect with each other and the river. The project’s form, which leans towards the river, maximizes views and becomes an icon for a sustainable Chicago.
Cleaning River Water
A new “living machine” wetland placed on the roof of the Merchandise Mart naturally cleans the building’s wastewater, including water taken from the river for mechanical purposes. The clean water from the “living machine” is then sent to supply the tower’s wetlands and eventually returned to the river pollutant free. Using these systems, Clean Tower can purify more than one million gallons of river water annually and is a prototype for riverfront buildings worldwide.
Large communal wetland pools bridge the two wings of the tower every eight floors. By bringing naturally-cleaned river water up into the building, the residential units can have direct access to swimming and gathering “by the river.” The 60 residential levels are “pixilated” by creating large exterior spaces on each floor. These spaces contain small, private wetlands for the residents. The tower thus has three scales of river: personal river wetland gardens, the communal river wetland pools every eight floors and the river itself below.
Public Park and Boardwalk Climb
A huge public plaza extends from the water’s edge around the tower to connect with the wetlands atop the Merchandise Mart. Naturally cleaned water flows along a retail boardwalk from the wetlands to the Chicago River. Vertical boat storage between the office and hotel buildings provides revenue for the building and convenience for boatowners.