NEMA Chicago

Nema Chicago
  1. About the NEMA Chicago in Chicago
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The NEMA Chicago is a Contemporary skyscraper designed in 2015 by Rafael Viñoly and built between 2017 and 2019 in Chicago, IL.

Its precise street address is 1210 south Indiana avenue, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

The NEMA Chicago has received multiple architecture awards for its architectural design since . The following is a list of such prizes and awards:

  • Best Tall Building Americas Award of Excellence in 2021
  • Best Tall Building 200-299 Meters Award of Excellence in 2021
  • Project of the Year – Residential in 2020

Architect Rafael Viñoly's stepped rectangular design is a tribute to the Willis Tower, one of the most recognized skyscrapers in the world and a building that has shaped the skyline of Chicago for decades.

Building's timeline

Design completed
Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago

Architect and team

Rafael Viñoly was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Rafael Viñoly was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline involving many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the NEMA Chicago a reality:

  • Magnusson Klemencic Associates in charge of Structural Engineering
  • James McHugh Construction Co. as the Main Contractor
  • Curtain Wall Design and Consulting, Inc. in charge of Facade Consultancy
  • Schindler as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Crescent Heights as the Main Developer
  • David Rockwell of Rockwell Group in charge of Interior Design

Architectural Style

The NEMA Chicago can be categorized as a Contemporary building.

Contemporary style architecture builds on top of the principles of Modernism and Postmodernism, but incorporates other variables which might not have been that important in the past, but certainly are today, such as technology, sustainability, inclusivity, and others.

From a historical point of view, it is hard to categorize things from a not-so-distant time, and therefore we choose to categorize most buildings built after the year 2000 as "Contemporary". It is possible that as time goes by and we, as a society, gain perspective on the things happening today, we'll be able to look back and recategorize all these buildings into more concrete subsections, some of which might not even exist today.

That being said, and even thought being a contemporary building, probably taking advantage of modern materials, construction techniques, and technology, the design of the NEMA Chicago is inspired by the contemporary style.

Spaces & Uses

The NEMA Chicago reaches an architectural height of 896ft (273m), 909ft (277m) if you count the antenna, with the last accesible floor being 794ft (242m) off the gorund. It has a total of 81 floors, served by 12 elevators. In total, it has a built-up area of 1,321,376 sqf (122,760m2) offering 1,099,995 sqf (102,193m2) of usable space.

If you want to get a nice view of Chicago the NEMA Chicago offers an observatory deck.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 500 spots available, which roughly equals 6 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 2,196 sqf (204m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 2019, the NEMA Chicago has mainly been used as Residential space.

About the residences

The NEMA Chicago has a total of 800 residential units throughout its 81 floors. If you are interested in learning more about the residences and their availability, you can check the NEMA Chicago's website.

909ft (277m)
896ft (273m)
794ft (242m)

Materials & Structure

The NEMA Chicago uses a frame structure made of reinforced concrete columns and beams.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade of the building however, is load bearing. This doesn't imply that it is a traditional load-bearing wall. Rather, it means that the structure's exterior pillars have been pushed to the very edges, becoming integrated with the facade, and therefore, technically, a part of it.

Structurally, NEMA features a core and outrigger system akin to a skier supported by poles, where a substantial central core extends concrete walls to perimeter columns, ensuring stability against wind forces. This design not only adds visual intrigue to the skyline but also enhances the building's resilience in Chicago's dynamic urban environment..

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a floor-to-ceiling window wall framed by white concrete columns and slabs. The window wall is divided into two kinds of modules, ones with a single fixed glass and others with a fixed glass spandrel and a large top pane that can be slightly opened to allow the units to be ventilated. In some instances the window wall takes a step back creating balconies.