Southside Soapbox

The Southside Soapbox

Chicago, IL

Award Winner
William McDonough + Partners

Project Team

Architect of Record: Karl Heitman, Heitman Architects Inc
Civil Engineers: William Loftus, Spaceco Inc
Contractor: Adam Miller, Summit Design + Build LLC
Design Architect: Roger Schickedantz, William McDonough + Partners
Greenhouse Manufacturer/Installer: Jeff Warschauer, Nexus
Healthy Material Assessments: Jay Bolus, MBDC
Hydroponic Equipment Provider: Patrik Borenius, Green Automation
Landscape Architect: Keith Demchinski, Norris Design
Renewal Energy Consultant: Matt Herman, Buro Happold
Rooftop Greenhouse Operator: Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens
Solar Tree Vendor: Desmond Wheatley, Envision Solar
Structural and MEP Engineer: Arun Garg, KJWW

William McDonough + Partners’ factory design for Method’s South Side Soapbox honors a positive relationship between people and the natural world. Our introduction of Method to Gotham Greens has resulted in a building like a tree or even an orchard. It produces oxygen, absorbs carbon, purifies water, produces food and transforms solar energy. It is wonderful to see businesses collaborating to help people have beautifully clean, healthy places to live, work and even grow food!
— William McDonough, William McDonough + Partners

A Symbol of A Community’s Revival

Method Home's new manufacturing facility, located in the historic Pullman neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, provides a host structure for the Gotham Greens greenhouse on its roof. The first factory to open on the south side in nearly 30 years, the building serves as a symbol of the area's revival, bringing needed jobs to the community.

The building and landscape achieved a LEED Platinum rating for the use of renewable energy, including an on-site wind turbine, management of stormwater, incorporation of sustainably sourced building materials, and contribution to a livable community.

Method and Gotham Greens came together as a result of a joint goal to envision the “factory of the future”. That vision included a large rooftop greenhouse, defining the aesthetic of the building and introducing the concept of a "clean factory." Once a design sketch was proposed, Method found a partner in Gotham Greens, who built and operate the greenhouse.

Gotham Green's 75,000 ft2 rooftop greenhouse was the largest in the world at the time of construction and overlooks a green canopy over the entryway. The urban greenhouse was incorporated with the purpose of creating buildings modeled on natural processes through industrial agriculture. Located in a food desert, Gotham Greens further supports the local community by making regular donations to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Judges praised this project’s impressive approach to roof-based agriculture and contextual design. They also spoke highly of the project’s excellent example of living architecture integrated into a larger high-performance building and site.