Hotel EMC2: An Eclectic Homage

It’s not often you come across a hotel that calls upon Albert Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence of E=mc2. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at Hotel EMC2, which, as the name implies, is a science-themed hotel. Located in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, the one-of-a-kind hotel is inspired by science, art and cuisine.

Science meets art at Chicago’s new Hotel EMC2

By Marcy Marro

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To achieve its sleek and modern look, the exterior of the 21-story hotel is adorned in Holland, Mich.-based Dri-Design metal wall panels. Kevin Parzych, architectural designer for KOO and Associates, Chicago, says the firm was asked to develop a tower façade that fit a hotel-room module, introduce a diagonal geometry to the façade, and use a subtle but identifiable color range to make a pattern. While the architects considered using a brick exterior, the decided to go with metal wall panels, which are lighter and a more dynamic option.

The façade at the base of the tower features stainless steel panels in three colors of interference-coated stainless steel by A. Zahner Co., Kansas City, Mo. The bronze, rose gold and black-coated stainless steel panels mimic isometric cube graphics, extending the building’s diagonal beam structure, which is exposed at the third-floor terrace level.

Tuschall Engineering Co. Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill., installed 17,985 square feet of Dri-Designs’ 0.080-inch post-painted aluminum wall panels in Anchor Gray, Black Ink and Gravel Gray. The panels were installed over insulation with thermally insulated subgirts and Z furrings.

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The hotel sits on a narrow, 60-foot-wide by 110-foot-deep site. “The building is on a zero lot line, so all the wall panels had to be staged within the building every third floor,” explains Jim Tuschall, president of Tuschall Engineering. “The general contractor left out windows so we could feed the panels out to the crew on a swing stage.”

Additionally, Wausau Window & Wall Systems, Wausau, Wis., supplied 396 of its 4250i-XLT Invent Series windows with an extra-wide polyamide thermal barrier and 4 7/8-inch-deep aluminum frames. Wausau-based Linetec finished the aluminum frames in Black with a 70 percent PVDF resin-based PPG Duranar coating from PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Dallas, fabricated the glass for the windows with Cheswick, Pa.-based Vitro Architectural Glass’ Solarban 60 low-E glass and spacers from Technoform North America, Twinsburg, Ohio. Mid-States Glass & Metal Inc. of Illinois, Niles, Ill., installed the windows.

Art and science continue to be on display throughout the 195-room Hotel EMC2, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection Hotels. In addition to having 2,000 square feet of meeting areas, the hotel’s restaurant, Albert, has seating for 120 people with space for an additional 20 guests in the kitchen. The hotel also features a double-height, multifunctional lobby lounge and meeting place that serves as an inviting neighborhood amenity, a fitness room, and an agricultural green roof.

“This hotel sits in a medical and technological center of Chicago, so the science theme fits the neighborhood well without being a cliché,” says Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design. “Metal wall panels make a stunning and playful cladding that invite people inside to explore the influential art and science displays.”