C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters – Structural Engineering

The design of the C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters with developer Sterling Bay accommodates open, flexible workspaces across four stories. Daylight management was a key consideration in the building design—not only to achieve sustainability goals, but also to provide comfort and productivity. A central atrium spans the height of the building and infuses the interiors with daylight, while aluminum sunshades control daylight along the perimeter of the building.

SOM studied C.H. Robinson's prior office setting, including furniture layouts, ceiling heights, and access to daylighting. This informed the design of two 345-foot-long by 68-foot-wide office floor plates around a central atrium. Each floor plate is supported by two column lines forming a typical bay of 30 feet by 52.5 feet, with 7.5-foot circulation corridors cantilevered from the columns. The layout allows for the greatest number of workstations with access to daylight.

Structural steel was selected to achieve large column bays with efficient office space planning—allowing flexibility for the tenant to grow over time while minimizing construction costs. The steel structure supporting the office floors required the careful coordination with MEP services to maximize ceiling heights, manage floor deflections, and evaluate vibrations. Integrating the design of the steel structure with the architectural goals and MEP systems was key to meeting the goals of the project.

As the first development to be completed on the former site of the historic Finkl steel mill, at the edge of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the new building sets the bar for future developments in Sterling Bay’s adjacent Lincoln Yards project.