Curbed Chicago — “Inside Jeanne Gang’s Solstice on the Park”

September 17, 2018

“Although Chicago’s apartment-fueled construction boom has been most concentrated in neighborhoods like River North, South Loop, and Fulton Market District, its arguably most interesting new rental building can be found several miles south in Hyde Park.

Enter Solstice on the Park, a 250-foot tower perched at the northern edge of historic Jackson Park—the site of the Museum of Science and Industry, the former White City of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and the upcoming Barack Obama Presidential Center.

Compared to the boxy rectangular forms and the cookie-cutter floorplans of its many rental tower peers, Solstice on the Park offers a refreshingly different take on the Chicago apartment building. The angular design from hometown starchitect Jeanne Gang attempts to bridge form and function—in this case a push towards solar efficiency. ...

Approaching the building from the park, the first thing that stands out is the geometric glass and metal facade. Solstice sports a patterned, modular design that alternates between vertical and 72-degree angles. While seemingly arbitrary, the geometry actually mirrors the angle of the sun during the summer solstice—a feature that increases shade and energy savings during the summer and gives the development its name. In the winter, the layout provides passive solar heating when the sun is lower in the sky.

The tower’s simultaneously muscular and elegant exterior extends all the way to the ground as one cohesive architectural expression ...

Stepping into one of Solstice on the Park’s model apartments can be a gasp-worthy experience as Jackson Park immediately fills your vision. The treetops seem even bigger and closer through the long, sloping floor-to-ceiling glass—a feature that also makes the already generous headroom feel much more expansive. ...

The tower is a fitting addition to the northern streetwall of Jackson Park as well as the greater Hyde Park neighborhood [and a] poignant reminder that in the competitive world of Chicago apartments, fortune can still favor the bold over the bland.”

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Photo courtesy Curbed Chicago