A 40-foot metal trellis floats over the monumental stair at the new Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago, celebrating the communal hub of the club and visually guiding guests upward from the reception lobby below. This trellis is designed with deference to the original Midtown Tennis Club that stood in the very location, a large portion of which was demolished to make room for the new expansion. The metal trellis is infilled with panels of copper and oak salvaged from the original club prior to demolition.
The 250,000 sf expansion of the Midtown Athletic Club & Hotel in Chicago transformed what was the largest indoor tennis club in the country to the largest lifestyle center in the country. The new design pushes the programmatic envelope bundling several typologies into one building. Together, the club and hotel provide active travelers a high-end fitness experience with boutique hospitality.
The idea of the trellis was born from Midtown’s history. Oak panels that once lived in the locker rooms of this iconic club frequented by revered professionals like Andre Agassi and John McEnroe, were reclaimed, refinished and cut for infill within the new trellis. Copper panels from the fireplace hood were also salvaged, cut and folded to fit within the metal screen. The two re-purposed materials were arranged in a harmonic pattern like jewels and interspersed with traces of bronze mirror used as additional infill material symbolically representing a “reflection” of the past in the new.
The custom fabricated trellis screen is 40 feet long, 20 feet wide, fabricated in 8 foot modules and installed on site with all bolted connections. An elaborate scaffolding was erected for the installation, and structural hang points were located on site to suspended the 5000 lb frame from the ceiling structure. 70 Edison lamps are suspended through the gaps of the trellis and reflect up on the mirror and copper infills, providing a sense of lightness to this massive trellis while paying tribute to the storied history of the timeless tennis club.