COVER UP IN CHICAGO June 2013
Following a £110 million ($168 million) refurbishment project, Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel, which dates back to 1974, is now regarded as one of the most high-tech hotels in the world, with electronic check-in pods, dynamic lighting and a unique screening solution from Levolux.
The vast 4,000 sq metre lobby is located at the heart of the hotel, occupying a split-level atrium. This accommodates the hotel’s main entrance and reception, with spacious check-in areas and four reinvented restaurants. The lobby is renowned as a popular ‘hang-out’, not only serving guests staying in its 2019 guest rooms, but also attracting visitors for meetings, events or for fine dining.
The East Tower Lobby is encased by glass, resembling an enormous conservatory. This affords occupants envious outward views across the Chicago skyline and the southern shore of the Chicago River.
Typical of 1970’s glazed structures, the lobby lacked effective solar control and acoustic attenuation. This resulted in a ‘noisy’ environment which would invariably change according to external factors. Depending on the amount of cloud cover, cool and dull conditions would quickly give way to warm, bright conditions.
Levolux was approached to devise a custom screening solution, based on its popular Infiniti Fin system, to support three main objectives. Firstly to raise and maintain comfort levels, secondly to reduce noise transmission and finally to create a clean, contemporary aesthetic.
The solution comprised Rectangular shaped Fins, applied internally to screen the glazed envelope, filtering direct sunlight as it enters the building. A proportion of these Fins have special acoustic qualities. Elsewhere, a series of twisted Fins provide an attractive screen at the site of the hotel’s entrance.
Swathes of rectangular shaped Fins, each measuring 200mm deep by 50mm wide, are fixed horizontally across the glazed ceiling, and vertically against the east and west elevations. All Fins are set at 300mm centres.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect is the application of Fins across the glazed ceiling. Here the Fins soar almost 10 metres above the split-level lobby, covering an area measuring 38 metres by 35 metres – equivalent to more than a quarter of an American football field. The Fins appear continuous, suspended from existing overhead steel trusses and secured using unique concealed stainless steel fixings.
To improve acoustic attenuation above the hotel’s popular ‘BIG Bar’ on the lobby’s upper level, Levolux adapted its standard Fin to create an Acoustic Fin. Unnoticeable from the ground, around a quarter of the Fins fixed across the ceiling are Acoustic Fins, covering an area measuring 35 metres by 10 metres.
The Acoustic Fins feature a special acoustic infill material, with a perforated skin on south-facing surfaces. They effectively absorb noise emitting from the hotel’s main bar area, helping to prevent it from spilling over into other areas.
The same rectangular shaped screening Fins have also been applied extensively across the east and west elevations, arranged vertically. Vertical Fins are aligned with those installed across the ceiling, extending down, with a maximum length of 6.5 metres. They not only provide effective screening at high level, but also create a neat backdrop, against which signage and display equipment can be seen clearly.
The Infiniti Fin system was the preferred choice as it offered the ideal balance between flexibility, functionality and aesthetic quality. It fulfils a variety of criteria such as reducing solar glare, improving acoustic attenuation and creating an attractive screen.
To complete the solution, Levolux was invited to supply a custom screen inside the hotel’s entrance at ground floor level. 35 twisted Fins, arranged vertically between the floor and the ceiling, extend to form a screen measuring 4.2 metres long by 3.2 metres high.
The Fins, which are fixed at 120mm centres, are engineered from extruded aluminium plate, measuring 100mm wide by 13mm thick. Each Fin incorporates a 180 degree twist from top to bottom, creating an open appearance at the top and bottom and closed in the middle.
All rectangular shaped Fins are finished in a durable ‘timber effect’ powder coating, while the twisted Fins are finished in a silver powder coating. At night, all Fins are illuminated by LED backlighting, which gives the lobby a cool, sophisticated aesthetic.
Hyatt Regency Chicago, located on East Wacker Drive, is the largest hotel in Chicago and the largest Hyatt property in the world. Following a multi-million pound investment, it can also boast a lobby to rival all others, not only in terms of offering spectacular views of downtown Chicago, but also for maintaining a naturally lit, comfortable environment all year-round, partly thanks to Levolux.