Chicago Bears Headquarters
Lake Forest, Illinois
The project consists of a headquarters and training facility of 98,000 square feet, which houses football operations, administration and executive offices. The facility is located in a beautiful rolling meadow, bound by wetlands and protected woodlands to the east and wooded areas to the south, north and west. The configuration of the landscape and the building allow public access to the main lobby while retaining privacy where necessary for the team and administration.
The west façade of the building defines the entry zone to the site and addresses the dual issues of team privacy and public accessibility. Pre-cast concrete panels form a horizontal expanse of wall 540 feet long. The wall acts as a visual and acoustical screen that provides privacy as well as control of light for the interior spaces. The plane of the concrete wall is broken at points where the program mandates public access. Small volumes project from the wall at the loading dock and ticket offices. A clear-glazed curtain wall with an articulated horizontal sunscreen creates a complete break in the wall at the main entry. Separate entrances, one for the coaches and players and another for the media, are located at either ends of the building.
The east facade overlooks the Bears’ practice fields and has a more open relationship to the landscape. For invited visitors, viewing balconies are accessible from the administrative and public relations offices. The aluminum curtain wall, with clear and translucent glazing, provides views from the private areas of the interior onto the practice fields. These views are the most sacred elements of the facility.