perkins+will, chicago Most architects would play it safe when venturing into the for-sale housing market for the first time. Not Perkins+Will. The developer who invited the firm to compete for this high-rise condominium project in Chicago's Greektown neighborhood asked for innovation, and that's what design principal Ralph Johnson, FAIA, gave him. “It's an incredibly inventive fragmentation of a very tall building,” said a judge. “This project is very, very good.”

Skybridge's namesake and defining characteristic is a 30-foot-wide vertical slot, cut right through the building and spanned by a glass bridge. “The slot scales the building into two pieces,” says Johnson, Perkins+Will's design director. “It also allows you to be in the building and look back at it.” In addition to the cutout, he employed color to further visually break down the 425-foot-tall structure. “We wanted to use paint as an architectural device to accentuate the massing,” he says. “The different grays help layer the building, and then accent colors highlight some of the setbacks.” A slim, elegant roof canopy cements the project's strong presence against the city's busy skyline.

principal in charge / project architect: Ralph Johnson, FAIA, Perkins+Will
developer: Howard Weiner, Moran Associates/Dearborn Development, Chicago
general contractor: Keith Kovach, Walsh Construction Group, Chicago
landscape architect: Ted Wolff, Wolff Clements & Associates, Chicago
project size: 939 to 4,200 square feet per unit
site size: 1.85 acres
construction cost: $125 per square foot
sales price: $200,000 to more than $1,200,000 per unit
units in project: 237
photographer: Steinkamp/Ballogg Photography, except where noted