Illinois Tech Magazine — "Building Sustainability"

"Sometimes sustainable design is very focused on energy performance metrics, but we think of creating spaces that are beautiful and will be used for many years to come as another aspect of sustainability. Beauty is important because that is ultimately what draws people in and creates beloved environments.”

Juliane Wolf

"Just shy of 1,200 feet in height and coming in at 101 stories, the Studio Gang-designed Vista Tower has already become a recognizable part of the Chicago’s skyline. Its height and three-stem profile set it apart, while its undulating façade and glass gradient evokes the blue-green surface of the river it overlooks. When it opens later this year, it will be the third-tallest building in the city.

Much more than an aesthetic flourish, the glass gradient represents both an achievement in building material advancement and a step forward in energy-efficiency, two areas of architecture that Vista Tower’s design principal, Juliane Wolf (ARCH ’01), has been pursuing her entire career. Now a partner at Studio Gang, Wolf grew up in Germany surrounded by architects—her father, grandfather, great aunt, uncle, and currently, her nephew. She says that she came to Illinois Institute of Technology because its Bauhausian and Miesian ties have given the school a good reputation in her home country.

Illinois Tech was also the place where Wolf met Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang founder and a former professor at the College of Architecture. . . .Wolf returned to Studio Gang after graduating first in her class and helped to bring some of the firm’s earliest projects, such as Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre in Rockford, Illinois, to life. She only stayed until 2004, departing for Berlin to do what many architects do at some point in their careers: leave to pursue independent practice to find her creative voice. . . .

Wolf soon returned to Studio Gang—and just as she had grown as an architect, so, too, had the firm, taking on larger, more impactful projects. . . . In addition to Vista Tower, Wolf is working on the new O’Hare International Airport Global Terminal, filled with natural materials and lush green spaces, and the Beloit College Powerhouse, a former coal-burning power plant turned student union. The Powerhouse, whose first phase opened in February, features a radiant panel and slab system that uses energy from the water in the adjacent Rock River to heat and cool the building, which is more sustainable than traditional air-conditioning systems. Besides these features being energy-saving measures, Wolf believes these elements create workspaces that are both beautiful and healthy."

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