850 Lakeshore Drive

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850 Lakeshore Drive


850 Lakeshore Drive

Location: Chicago, Illinois


When Northwestern University decided to sell the building it owned at 850 Lakeshore Drive, a developer announced plans to raze the 1927 tower that had housed the Lake Shore Athletic Club to make way for a new condo building. But when the neighborhood balked at the plans, the developers pivoted and decided to turn the historic structure into a 198-unit apartment building.
With such a dated structure, maintaining the beautiful aesthetics while modernizing for energy efficiency and accessibility posed a daunting task.


American Direct was hired to oversee installation of hardware for 2,037 openings. The company worked closely with suppliers to find the high-end, customized products that would complement the 1920s style.
For example, the handle sets came from one vendor, while the lock body came from another. Once the handle set was engineered to fit into the lock body, they were then shipped to the job site. American Direct also worked closely with the architect, Booth Hansen, to identify modern, code-compliant door frame products that would be reminiscent of the original doors.