Doing Growth Right: ICE Expands Its Chicago Office

By Matt Baker

With growth comes the opportunity for better efficiency. Nurture a copse of trees into a forest and witness the diversity and vibrancy of life that takes up residence there. The same is true of systems designed by man as well as nature.

The Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, is a multinational conglomerate of stock exchanges and clearing houses. They own and operate more than 20 exchanges and marketplaces covering commodities, indexes and equities, including the New York Stock Exchange which they acquired in 2013.

ICE1The company is only 15 years old but it has seen incredible growth. After one series of mergers, their Chicago office was in need of larger space, prompting a move into 353 N. Clark in the River North neighborhood. “They were one of the first tenants to go into that building when it was new,” said John Kolb, Vice President and Sr. Project Manager at Epstein. His firm designed the 31st floor office for ICE. Last year, Epstein helped the company to expand to the 32nd floor, giving them a little over 52,000 square feet of space.

Completed in 2009, 350 N. Clark is a 44-story, Class A skyscraper. The building’s rounded edges and curtain wall façade are its predominant features; both are highlighted where the exterior glass protrudes beyond the aluminum cladding at the corners.

ICE2The building received LEED-CS Gold upon completion and has since achieved LEED O+M Platinum. Some of the sustainable features that went into the structure include the use of building products with regional and/or recycled content and diversion of over 75% of construction waste. Today, 350 N. Clark purchases renewable energy credits to offset a portion of its electricity needs.

Water savings are increased through high-efficiency plumbing and landscaping systems as well as a rain capturing system for use in exterior landscaping irrigation. A green roof above the auditorium bustle and another atop the main office tower help mitigate the urban heat island effect, improve insulation and reduce stormwater runoff.

In the ICE office, Mid-Century Modern governs, as everything is clean and minimalistic. The unbroken lines and almost austere open areas are punctuated by curvilinear furniture and splashy (occasionally ice-themed) art. The overall concept behind the space is that it be light, airy and functional.

ICE3Foremost toward this was locating the offices at the core of the floors. Work stations have low partitions to encourage collaboration, but also to provide excellent views of the Chicago skyline. The added benefit is that the space—from the work stations all the way to the glass-walled interior offices—benefit from generous daylighting.

Recycled content made its way into many of the materials and furnishing. The porcelain by Graniti Fiandre used in restrooms and other areas contains 40% recycled material. Ceiling tiles by Armstrong are made from 71% recycled content.

The carpet, by Bentley, was manufactured using 37% recycled content and is low-emitting, off-gassing few VOCs. The wool-blend seating upholstery by Knoll and quartz countertops are both Greenguard certified.

ICE4Aggressive lighting controls and occupancy sensors help reduce electricity need. The mechanical system is served by ECM motors that decrease fan operation, and therefore lower energy use. Low-consumption water closets and urinals are EPA Watersense-compliant, ensuring that the ICE offices use only the water they need.

“I think what’s been key is that the design for this office has been a benchmark for [ICE’s] other offices,” said Kolb. “They’ve used elements of the design here in other offices around the world.” Retrofitted office spaces in Houston and Singapore make use of the same clean design and even the same materials. As the company grows, whether in Chicago or globally, these principles of design and efficiency will be put into place.

Photos: Christopher Barrett

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