Annual Review 2019
  • Project Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago
  • Location Chicago, Illinois
  • Owner Starbucks Corporation
  • Chief Design Officer Liz Muller
  • Designer Jill Enomoto
  • Owner's Representative Turner & Townsend
  • Architect of Record Perkins+Will
  • Structural Engineer CS Associates, Inc.
  • MEP Engineer Arup Chicago
  • Certification Seeking LEED Silver Certification

Starbucks' new Reserve Roastery Chicago is a 35,000-square-foot, five-story coffee-lover's dream. It features custom elements throughout that are designed to appeal to all five senses. While patrons enjoy the jaw-dropping environment, our team appreciates the level of detail it took to bring it to life.

“We envisioned this five-story experience that would pull people from the ground floor all the way up and tell this really beautiful story about the growing of coffee. Before you know it, you walked five floors and you’ve gotten this really amazing journey, ever upwards.”

Jill Enomoto, Vice President, Vice President of Roastery Design & Concept for Starbucks

A curved escalator - the first in the Midwest - began its journey in Japan and took 25 months to become a reality. Fabrication of the escalator spanned 18 months, it took one month to ship to Chicago and six months to assemble.

The stunning escalator is a work of precision. The installation tolerance was razor thin (a mere 1/64”) which required unconventional layout techniques. The installation team worked with Japanese technicians to plot several hundred points on the ground to guide the curved escalator into place. Adding to the challenge, the escalator has multiple radiuses that needed to be accounted for. The existing structure needed to be modified precisely to accept the curved escalator which was planned to be a show piece in the finished space.

Thousands of pieces make up the complex "Sunray" wood ceiling, with the lights, speakers and vents seamlessly integrated into the design. No two pieces are alike. Each wood piece was placed by hand, taking six months of coordination upfront. The system is so unique it required a complex laser system be used during installation.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago is a working coffee roastery where more than 200,000 pounds of coffee beans will be roasted each year. The coffee roasted here will only be served at this location in handcrafted beverages as well as freshly scooped whole bean coffee. The beans are piped throughout the space using bronze pipes that carry the freshly roasted beans to each coffee bar; while the complex mechanicals, heating and cooling systems that support it remain hidden, with diffusers and lighting carefully integrated into the millwork.

In the building's rotunda, as the centerpiece of it all, stands a 56-foot tall steel and aluminum multi-story coffee cask with a bronze finish, spanning four floors, where visitors can watch the roasted beans make their way through the tubes.

Even more impressive is how Starbucks stood by their corporate commitment to sustainability to achieve LEED Silver certification, proving that even the most complex spaces can be a good steward of the environment. In addition to the typical LED lights and low flow fixtures, creative solutions include VRF units to supplement spaces that require additional cooling and re-feeding the hot water instead of using additional electrical.

The new Roastery is certainly creating a buzz among Chicagoans. It was a privilege to help create this amazing experience.