Chicago, IL

150 N Riverside Plaza

5,625 SF 30mm BASWA Phon Classic Fine

150 North Riverside, dubbed as the Pencil Building due to its impressive silhouette, is now the global headquarters of William Blair. The 54-story office building is situated in downtown Chicago and balances its mass on the “pinpoint” of a 39-foot-wide base, hence the nickname. Strongly rooted into the plot below, the narrow structure is an engineering and architectural feat situated between seven active Amtrak rail lines and the Chicago River. The structure was designed to touch minimal space at ground level, while still maintaining stability.

By utilizing a core-supported structure, the design features a compact building footprint with a 20:1 height-to-base ratio. The building’s compact lower levels extend up to column-free office floors totaling 1.2 million square feet, and allows for the remaining 1.5 acres at ground level to be developed as a landscaped public park, riverside amphitheater and riverwalk. The highly-efficient building is LEED Gold certified along with being Wired Platinum certified for excellence in technology infrastructure.

150 North Riverside was the ideal location for William Blair’s global headquarters not only due to its architectural feats and state-of-the-art technology and amenities, but Chicago is also home to the investment banking firm which was founded in 1935 by William McCormick Blair. When conceptualizing the space that would be their new headquarters, William Blair wanted to ensure employees were provided with a space that fostered productivity and meaningful interactions leading to collaboration. Areas such as the main reception area and hospitality areas were thoughtfully designed to foster collaboration and maximize natural light within the space to in turn improve productivity.



In order to achieve design aesthetics and functionality with the space, ceiling acoustic performance throughout the conference center and hospitality zones was paramount. The reception and hospitality zone ceilings were key design features of the space, in both function and form. The ceiling throughout the space was designed as an elegant sculpted form overhead, intended to lead occupants through the space while emulating the forms of the Chicago River below. The use of BASWA Phon Sound Absorbing Plaster allowed for the client to foster productivity within the space while maximizing natural light, without compromising the intended ceiling design aesthetics.

By reducing reverberant sounds within the space, BASWA Phon creates productive work spaces, fostering intentional conversation and collaboration. BASWA Phon is thoughtfully designed to be integrated into any ceiling seamlessly, while adding a level of comfort and tranquility to the space by reducing reverberation. Additionally, the high density marble aggregate finish coat of BASWA Phon is an excellent reflective surface, reflecting natural light. Furthermore, ease of installation and shorter drying times comparative to other sound absorbing plasters made BASWA Phon Sound Absorbing Plaster ideal for the project.

Learn more about the ideal acoustic environment in an office space. To learn more about the BASWA Phon System used in the William Blair Global Headquarters, click here. Or contact us directly to speak to a dedicated member of our team. 

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150 N Riverside Plaza

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