C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters

C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters

The light-filled and flexible headquarters for C.H. Robinson features long, open floorplates that take advantage of the site’s river frontage. At the center of the building, a daylit atrium with staircase seating offers a dynamic gathering space.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2018
  • Size Site Area: 187,352 square feet Building Height: 60 feet Number of Stories: 4 Building Gross Area: 207,000 square feet
  • Rentable Area 194,000.00 sq ft
  • Awards 2019, Award of Merit - Best Project $10- $50 Million, SEAOI
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators Site Design Group, Ltd.
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2018
  • Size Site Area: 187,352 square feet Building Height: 60 feet Number of Stories: 4 Building Gross Area: 207,000 square feet
  • Rentable Area 194,000.00 sq ft
  • Awards 2019, Award of Merit - Best Project $10- $50 Million, SEAOI
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators Site Design Group, Ltd.

Reclaiming the riverfront

The C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters at 1515 West Webster Avenue is the first development to be completed near the former site of Chicago’s historic Finkl steel mill, located on the riverfront at the edge of the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Prioritizing sustainability, efficiency, and connectivity, the project is a catalyst for the ongoing remediation of former industrial properties along the Chicago River.

The building is positioned at the intersection of several transit and bicycle routes, where one of the city’s vital east-west corridors meets the river’s North Branch. Wetlands and natural vegetation have been restored, and a new path at the corner of Dominick Street and Webster Avenue provides access to the riverfront, supporting the city’s rediscovery and reinvigoration of the riverfront.


Designed for daylight

Daylight management was a key consideration in the building design—not only to achieve sustainability goals but also to enhance comfort and productivity. The building design accommodates open, flexible workspaces across four levels. A central atrium spans the height of the building, infusing the interiors with daylight, while a two-story staircase leads to a seating area that provides a casual gathering space for visitors and staff. The building also includes above and below-grade bicycle and vehicle parking.

Having achieved LEED Gold certification, the building incorporates low-cost, high-efficiency materials to realize significant improvements in building performance. The building mitigates solar gain with heat-reducing glass and undulating fins along the exterior, designed to reduce glare in workspaces while increasing daylight in common areas.

It’s a simple yet elegant design, this facade has a nice rhythm, and, up close, the river light glitters water reflections in the fins. The panels were challenging but, ultimately, were successfully executed through great teamwork.

C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters © Tom Harris Photography
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters © Tom Harris Photography

Engineering for efficiency

The design team studied C.H. Robinson’s prior office setting, including furniture layouts, ceiling heights, and daylight access. This informed the design of two 345-foot-long by 68-foot-wide office floor plates around a central atrium. Each floor plate is supported by two-column lines forming a typical bay of 30 feet by 52.5 feet, with 7.5-foot circulation corridors cantilevered from the columns. The layout allows for the greatest number of workstations with access to daylight.

Structural steel was selected to achieve large column bays with efficient office space planning—a solution which provides flexibility for growth over time while minimizing construction costs. The steel structure supporting the office floors required careful coordination with MEP services to maximize ceiling heights, manage floor deflections, and evaluate vibrations. Integrating the design of the steel structure with the architectural goals and MEP systems was key to meeting the goals of the project.

C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters © Tom Harris Photography
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters © Tom Harris Photography

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