Located in Chicago’s West Loop enterprise zone, Music Box Films is a Chicago technology start-up whose beginnings can be traced back to the Music Box Theater. Film distribution and specifically electronic content has become the mainstream of the movie business. The new headquarters facility is an adaptive re-use of a century old lumber yard. The design makes extensive use of sustainable building practices. The original building was a 7,000 square foot two story building; converted to a single story building with a mezzanine. The double height 30 foot ceiling space contains a floating stair that leads to a catwalk into the break room at the mezzanine level. The openness in the configuration provides the employees with a collaborative and integrated work environment. The renovation work included restoration of the exterior façade, masonry walls, and reuse of the existing steel structure and wood roof truss system.
The sustainable site is located in an urban redevelopment zone, with close proximity to public transportation. Energy use is controlled by the extensive use of natural light through the restoration of existing sky lights and glass block clear stories and a floor to ceiling glass façade allowing the multi-zone, multilevel lighting system to respond to ambient light conditions. The walls and roof systems are insulated to R24; the radiant floor heating system takes advantage of exposed concrete floors. Even the gravity flow roof ventilator was restored and retrofitted with automatic dampers to allow natural ventilation.
There was a concerted effort to reuse and recycle all of the salvageable Materials from the existing building. The design incorporates recycled lumber for acoustic wall panels and furniture. Most of the salvaged framing and sheathing wood was cleaned, re-milled and refinished with low emitting paints and coating along with natural ventilation to preserve the indoor environmental quality of the space.