Elgin is a historically rich city in Northern Illinois. There have been several efforts to increase the vibrancy of the downtown area and the Envision Elgin Tower seeks to be a capstone project to embody the city's efforts to revitalize that area.
"Festival Tower" named after the park across the building's site creates a live, work, and play environment for the city's diverse users with programming including a theater, restaurant, fitness center, retail outlets for local businesses, office spaces, and a variety of residential units as well.
The site is split in two by an implied continuation of an adjacent street. This allows a continuation of the park on the site and draws the community to the building which also continues the retail atmosphere of the area on the first floor as well as the other community functions.
The 20-Story mixed-use high-rise embraces the future of design while enhancing community in the Elgin area. There are terracotta rain-screen and sunscreen panels depending on the elevation in colors prominent in the downtown area used around the spandrels and on the bottom community floors to incorporate some of Elgin's history into the building. The balconies also serve as shading devices for sustainability purposes.
Simi is an Architectural Designer studying Architecture and Historic Preservation at the AIADO Department of SAIC. To her, Architecture means more than designing facades and floor plans and goes further into providing a service that improves people’s quality of life by creating buildings that acknowledge the past with an awareness of the future, and the ability to serve people so that they can live in comfort and luxury. She believes the buildings and spaces we design, no matter how little, are of great significance because, as humans, we always exist in some space, and even when we’re outside, the surrounding structures can influence our experience. Architects might not always dictate the project type and location, but how we design spaces and make decisions can make human experiences better.
She wants to always design for the context and community, using suitable materials and methodology and explore how building types could respond contextually and culturally to its environment while catering to the needs of its users.