PREMIER Design + Build Group, LLC wraps up Phase II of the Chicago Innovation Exchange

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Lake Park Associates Inc. and the University of Chicago selected PREMIER Design + Build Group, LLC to spearhead the renovation of the Doerr Building in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood, which included the revamp of the building’s core and shell.

The Doerr Building houses high-tech facilities for the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE)—an innovation hub for the University of Chicago, top engineering leaders, and start-up companies. Featured in the new space is a digital fabrication lab designed for rapid prototyping. State-of-the-art amenities included in the new Fab Lab aid in bridging the gap between physical and digital design and include 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, and spray booths – to name just a few. In addition, designated space is dedicated specifically to energy and water research. While established research companies are working in the CIE, it is also meant to be a launching pad for a variety of start-up companies.

“We are honored to have been a part of bringing the Chicago Innovation Exchange to life,” says PREMIER executive vice-president Alec Zocher. “PREMIER has enjoyed working with the University of Chicago in Hyde Park these past several years on exciting projects and historical renovations.”

In fact, the Doerr Building is Phase II of the CIE project—PREMIER has been working with the University of Chicago since the beginning of Phase I, which included new space designed to cater to multi-disciplinary teams; with open, adaptable working space for up to 150 entrepreneurs. Dedicated workspace for incubated companies, and designated meeting areas for group collaboration, workshops and events are also key areas featured in the first phase of the project. Phase I and Phase II were both designed and constructed for LEED certification.

The Doerr Building received a complete gut and interior rehab and was designed with the same contemporary colors and industrial forms as Phase I. The early 20th century building now showcases a full masonry façade restoration. An ornate terra-cotta cornice and bold, modern canopy offer CIE members a welcoming introduction to the building’s striking architecture. In addition to the Fab Lab, the second floor of the Doerr building provides co-working spaces, new offices, and conference rooms in similar architectural fashion. The first floor of the building will be reserved for restaurant or retail tenants.

The style of the Chicago Innovation Exchange is truly one of a kind. It is the perfect example of innovative possibilities that come from adapting and re-using existing space. New buildings could never mimic what has been achieved with this stunning re-use of an original Chicago structure.

Matt Bien was the project manager and Wayne Nyenhuis was the field superintendent from PREMIER Design + Build, LLC. Built Form, LLC and Beyer Blinder Belle provided architectural services. TGRWA, LLC and Advance Consulting Group International, Inc. were the engineering firms involved on the project.

Photograph by Charlie Mayer of Charlie Mayer Photography
Photograph by Charlie Mayer of Charlie Mayer Photography.

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