The Cube at Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie, IL

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Located on Chicago’s North Shore, Westfield Old Orchard is home to 150,000 sf of luxury boutiques, restaurants and family-friendly amenities. In order to maintain its status as a shopping and entertainment destination, Westfield engaged Syska Hennessy Group to design the MEP system for its upgraded concourse and new centerpiece: The Cube.

The Cube is a 1,300-sf, free-standing glass cube located in the south concourse that serves as a multipurpose space for exhibitions, promotions, performances and other events. Westfield requested an all-glass, flexible structure with operable doors that could welcome guests for any occasion in all four seasons. To engage shoppers, the amount of glass along the façade was maximized, which resulted in all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems consolidated in The Cube’s four corners. Extremely complicated coordination was required to ensure that all engineering systems are concealed, fit and perform efficiently within this limited space.

We performed a comprehensive energy modeling and CFD analysis to determine whether the building’s mechanical system could adapt to the changing climate. Due to constant sun exposure, we had to adjust the design to ensure temperature was calibrated to occupant comfort.

For The Cube, our team installed an air-handing unit on the rooftop to meet the changing temperature requirements while aligning with the design aesthetic, and out of shoppers’ sight. We also designed an underfloor radiant heat system to provide maximum occupant comfort.

Syska also performed concourse amenity upgrades, including a hydronic snow-melt system, improved lighting scheme, upgraded controls, new valet structure and natural gas piping to power outdoor heating fixtures. A new children’s outdoor play area was created as part of the landscape and façade refresh, and our year-round temperature accommodations allow for year-round play.

The Cube is a jewel box within the center, and continues to draw new shoppers to Old Orchard.

ENR Midwest, Best Small Project, 2014

150,000 gsf

Westfield Corporation

Owner’s Rep
Graycor Construction


MEP/fire protection
Energy modeling
Fire alarm and life safety
Site climate, daylight, solar and shading evaluation
CFD analysis
Glass cube
Infrastructure modifications
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