Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 1

Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio: A Case Study

Chicago, IL

Located in the iconic Rookery building, a welcoming, sophisticated workplace puts employee wellness and company culture first.

Perkins Eastman’s Chicago studio brings renewed energy to a historic building. Fully embracing the firm’s Human by Design ethos, employees take advantage of flexible sunlit spaces for easy collaboration or focused individual work. The perfect backdrop for a contemporary architecture office, Daniel Burnham and John Root’s Rookery Building yielded many artifacts, which are paired with innovative modern and wellness-oriented design elements throughout the space. Setting a standard for adaptive, sustainable design, the office is the first project in the State of Illinois, the fourth in the United States, and one of the first 25 worldwide to obtain WELL™ v2 Platinum Certification.

Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 7
Folding-glass walls can enclose spaces for privacy without sacrificing natural light in Perkins Eastman's Chicago studio. Photo copyright Andrew Rugge

Dwight H. Perkins, grandfather of Perkins Eastman founder and Chairman Bradford Perkins, worked in the Rookery Building under its architects as a young designer in 1886. The new office pays homage not only to the legacy of the Perkins family, but also to the firm’s thoughtful, personal approach to site selection and design.

Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 8 Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 3

Blending 21st century design ideals with 19th century details, the office features original Rookery Building architectural elements including a window from Burnham and Root’s 11th floor office and a Frank Lloyd Wright elevator gate. Warm wood tones complement the ornate brass of the elevator lobby, which gives way to a massive telescoping glass door that creates a modern entry so employees and visitors feel warmly welcomed.

Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 4 Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 2 Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 6

“We believe our employees are our greatest asset, so we created an inviting employee-first environment that reinforces our healthy studio culture. Light, acoustics, air quality, comfortable spaces–these all promote holistic wellness and can be embedded in the design process from the start. In the new age of COVID-19, the Chicago studio design serves as an example for future office spaces, where health and wellness considerations are now front and center.” – Jerry R. Walleck, AIA

Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio 5

Wellness is at the heart of Perkins Eastman’s approach. Stemming from the firm’s extensive global experience with workplace, hotel, and education spaces, the Chicago studio’s design is based on principles of hospitality. Staff enjoy a working environment with advanced lighting, acoustic technology, and planning that puts their health and comfort first. The studio is one of only 4 projects in the United States and 25 worldwide to obtain WELL™ v2 Platinum Certification. Propelled by guiding principles of WELL, the Perkins Eastman workplace design team collaborated with the Chicago studio to emphasize quality of air, light, sound, thermal comfort, and materials for a workspace that prioritizes well-being and is invigorating and inviting.

Perkins Eastman Chicago Studio