Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Plymouth Tower
Christopher Reddy & Matthew Byrne
Site: State & Van Buren, Chicago, USA
Illinois Institute of Technology
Antony Wood
Studio: 2012 Hi-Rise, Lo-Carb: Chicago
Plymouth Tower provides green spaces and other amenities that families desire, making the Loop a more appealing neighborhood for raising children. Vertical blocks divide the high-rise into smaller communities and create streets in the sky.

Southeast aerial view of Plymouth Tower in the heart of the Loop

Comparing suburban and urban communities

Visual rooftop connections to local buildings inform the building’s form

Public transit connections, including underground pedway access to various transit lines

Study model showing massing in relation to nearby buildings

Study model showing the different massings in relation to local buildings

Typical residence plan showing the "streets in the sky"

Building section showing the different programs and transit connections

Model showing plant growth on the project’s balconies

Looking up along State Street, connections with neighboring buildings are visible

Public plaza on the corner of State and Van Buren

Exterior of residential unit showing relationship of skin and interior functions

One of the project's communal floor

Neighborhoods in the sky

Cut-away section showing interior conditions

“Adding residential density to the Loop can only be successful if residential towers are designed to facilitate a family-friendly environment.”

Many couples leave the city when they start families in search of good schools, affordable homes, open space, and a sense of community. However, this creates long commutes and a dependence on automobiles. Transforming the Loop from an office district into a multi-use neighborhood will have a dramatic impact on downtown Chicago’s livability. Plymouth Tower brings a sense of community to the high-rise by dividing the building’s mass into vertical neighborhoods. Open, outdoor gardens transform traditional corridors into residential “streets in the sky”. The building provides neighborhood amenities, such as large units, open green space, markets, and daycare facilities.

Interior Boulevard
In a typical residential high-rise, the units are accessed from a narrow, often dark corridor. At Plymouth Tower, residents step off the elevator into a spacious two- or three-story garden atrium. This semi-outdoor space provides natural air and light, evoking a quiet residential street. Each unit opens directly onto this street.

Spacious Units and Green Space
Units vary in size from two to four bedrooms. Many are two stories in height, and provide plenty of space for a growing family. Sky gardens atop each residential block provide amenities that attract families: an indoor pool, playgrounds, a gym and fitness center, a dog park, and ample green space. The height of the sky garden levels relate to various rooftop heights of nearby buildings, anticipating a relationship with future green roof developments.

Multi-Use Tower
The tower provides a variety of functions that support families living in the tower as well as the greater community. A large block of the tower has been designed to accommodate educational facilities, a daycare, a grocery store, and other retail space. The basement levels house a public transit hub, further reinforcing residents’ ability to lead a car-free lifestyle.