On May 1, 1926, The Shoreland Hotel opened its doors as a premiere Hyde Park luxury apartment hotel to great acclaim- not only was it the largest, most luxurious, and most state-of-the-art Chicago apartment hotel to date, but it also boasted a unique location steps from the shore of Lake Michigan. The Shoreland Hotel’s scenic location coupled with its architectural grandeur attracted traveling baseball teams and the visiting elite, including Amelia Earhart, Al Capone, Jimmy Hoffa, Milton Friedman and Elvis Presley.
The Shoreland Hotel’s design was both practical and whimsical. Its “U”-shaped footprint allowed for maximum light to penetrate into the building and provided each of its more than 1000 luxury apartment hotel rooms with spectacular views. Architect Meyer Fridstein’s original 1926 Classic Revival design combined brick masonry with terra cotta ornamentation paying homage to both sea and shore, calling notice to the hotel’s namesake. The classical arcaded base was adorned with details of shield, eagles, ships, seahorses, shells, urns, and garlands. The grand interior lobby was originally decorated in the ornate Spanish Revival style but less than a decade later, was renovated in the sleek and elegant 1930’s Art Deco style. The elaborate Spanish-influenced details were removed to emphasize the graceful lines of the soaring structure and provide a striking and elegant backdrop to the new, sophisticated modern décor. Through the subsequent decades, though time took its toll, the lobby’s shell remained much as it was after the 1930’s renovation.
Studio Gang’s 2013 reimagining of Shoreland as luxury apartments combines a respectful nod to the building’s prominent history with a forward gaze to the advantages of modern technologies. Original architectural elements were preserved and restored, including exterior terra cotta ornamentation, terraces, lobby doors and windows, and the circular drive’s elaborate bronze porte-cochere. The new 138-car parking garage was located underground in order to preserve the original lobby, mezzanine, and ballrooms. In order to minimize the environmental impact, water and energy-efficient systems and strategies were integrated into the building, as well as state-of-the-art building facilities and amenities. The total number of units was reduced so that each 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment could be spacious and open, and have better access to natural light and the spectacular views afforded by Shoreland’s unique location.
Much care was given to integrate modern elements into the historic fabric of the lobby and common areas. The lobby’s marble floors, marble wainscoting, coffered ceilings, and massive columns were restored and painted to highlight the space’s soaring height and striking volume. Original 1926 furnishings were repaired, painted, and paired with brightly patterned carpets to provide a rich sensual experience. Navigating the building offers unexpected moments where modern color schemes, patterns, and materials are juxtaposed within the historic fabric, breaking the mass of space into a series of focused vignettes merging the sleek and modern with the proud and elegant past.
In accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s guidelines, Shoreland’s 2013 renovation is LEED certified: Designed to be energy-efficient, water-conserving, and sustainable.
Shoreland’s sustainability initiatives include re-use of the building’s existing historical structure, use of native species in landscaping, use of water-efficient plumbing fixtures, use of energy-efficient lighting, efficient and pollution-reducing mechanical systems, encouraged use of alternate transportation types, provision of a recycling program, and diversion of construction debris from landfills.