© 2013 Loebl Schlossmann and Hackl

Quick: Who Designed Water Tower Place?
Chicago Reader, by Robert McClory

In a small conference room on the 34th floor of the old Prudential Building on East Randolph, four architects huddle around a table strewn with drawings, sketches, and photographs. Before them is their firm's evolving plan for a 22-story office building to be constructed in Santiago, Chile. In four weeks Loebl Schlossman & Hackl's design will be presented to the client, along with four competing proposals.

Project designer Richard Drinkwater is a 30-year-old architect who's been with the firm for less than a year. He thinks the building should have a fourth elevator, but it seems there's no place to put it.

"No question," agrees Imre Langmar, who's been on staff since emigrating from Hungary in 1963. "We definitely need a fourth elevator."

"Is the core so fixed it can't be moved one way to accommodate the elevator?" asks Donald Hackl, president of the firm. After some debate, they agree that moving the core would further complicate the design, so Hackl wonders if a stairwell can be "flipped" to the opposite side to solve the problem. That has possibilities, everyone nods.

Senior partner David Marks asks if the base of the crown atop the building--a huge decorative wedge the architects refer to as an "inverted potato chip"--might hold some of the air-conditioning equipment.

"Impossible," says Langmar. "Not enough room."

"What about the roof terrace?" asks Hackl.

"No, no," says Langmar. "We need more space." He argues that an entire upper floor of the building must be set aside for the cooling tower; there's no other way. That, of course, means losing a floor of high-rent office space, but after a long conversation about other possibilities Langmar prevails.

"Well, then," Hackl says, "we'll just have to lose an office floor." He quickly moves on to other matters: the proposed bluish green outer skin of the building; the connection between the first-floor lobby and the arcade; the problem of fitting the building neatly into a triangular piece of land in the center of downtown Santiago. Full Article