Rust‑Oleum Headquarters / Chicago, Illinois/ 1976‑1978
Size: 112,000 sq ft / 10,400 sq m
Height : 3 floors
Status: Completed 1978
Recognition: AIA Chicago Chapter Award; Young Professional Award by Building Design & Construction Magazine; AISC Award
The suburban office building for Rust-Oleum embodies an almost building block clarity of organization. In order to leave the grounds as an undisturbed landscape to be enjoyed from within, a 112-space car park is carved out below the two office floors. Employees enter here through a secured lobby, while visitors park on grade and enter via a brief exterior staircase into a broad, triple-height, skylit spine that runs the length of the building.
Inside, this corridor — with its peaked skylight poking up above the rest of the roof — simultaneously organizes the building into four office areas and floods them with natural light. These office areas are purposely unprogrammed and can be repartitioned at will. Permanent elements, including a grand stair, crisscrossing bridges, and bright yellow ductwork, are pressed into the central spine.
From the outside, exterior walls that alternate layers of glass and prefabricated, white-enameled metal panels seem to hover over rolling grassy slopes. The interior is presented as a continuation of this motif, with a white-painted structure and green carpet. The bright ducts of the galleria are echoed in a glass-walled mechanical room at the base of the grand stair, where pipes and equipment show off a full palette of Rust-Oleum’s renowned product line. The structural system consists of exposed steel with a metal deck and lightweight fill, with 30- by 40-foot bays cantilevered 20 feet in one direction and 15 feet in the other.