Two SOM projects—Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch and JTI Headquarters—are 2016 finalists in Interior Design Magazine's Best of Year Awards. The program, now in its 11th year, honors the most significant interior design projects around the world.
The Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch serves as a new civic, educational, and social hub for Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. SOM worked closely with Chicago Public Library officials to identify opportunities for programmatic overlap, thereby increasing the flexibility and projected use of many of the building’s spaces. The community meeting area and children’s zone are situated at the ground level, while teen and adult zones are located on the second floor. Like a traditional Chinese courtyard plan, all spaces connect to the central atrium room. The Chicago skyline is visible through the glass curtain wall, orienting the patrons within their city and within the symbolic heart of the Chinatown community.
JTI Headquarters demonstrates SOM’s commitment to integrated design, sustainability, and innovative workplace solutions. Located in a Geneva district that is home to prestigious international organizations, the building embodies JTI's brand values: "enterprising, open, and challenging." The design breaks down corporate silos and contributes to an open and flexible organization. A "continuous landscape" concept integrates three spatial typologies—landscape, social amenities, and dedicated workspace—creating a seamless experience that weaves through the building. An art commission by Liam Gillick unfolds along interconnecting stairs and extends into each floor, reinforcing SOM's overarching design concept.
The Best of Year Awards winners will be announced on Thursday, December 1st, in a ceremony at the IAC Building in New York City.