Perched on top of Chicago's arresting Contemporaine building, this

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Perched on top of Chicago's arresting Contemporaine building, this Powered By Docstoc
					                                Now and Zen
Perched on top of Chicago’s arresting Contemporaine building, this penthouse’s
  Japanese garden offers peace and tranquility amidst a thriving urban jungle

     he city is a bustling, exciting place to   by Ralf Johnson, principal of architectural           building has 3000sqft of interior space
     be, with new sights and experiences        firm Perkins + Will, comprises an 11-story            balanced by 3000sqft of rooftop exteriors.
     at every turn. However, urban living       condominium tower atop a four-story                       “Walking out onto this expanse for the
can also bring daily pressures and worries      base of retail and parking.                           first time, I envisaged it transformed into
– so what better way to unwind than step-           Contemporaine’s      strong     profile,          an authentic Japanese garden,” he says.
ping into the serenity of your very own         defined by a concrete canopy and project-                 Butcher’s vision stretched to a mature
rooftop Japanese garden.                        ing penthouse, establishes the building as            garden complete with an ornamental
    This was the aim of Jon Butcher, owner      a piece of Chicagoean skyline sculpture.              pond, a waterfall, substantial boulders, 12
of a penthouse apartment on the 14th                Butcher’s apartment at the top of the             mature pines and unpolished slate under-
floor of Contemporaine, an ultra-modern                                                               foot. The garden was to be split between the
concrete, glass and steel structure in          These pages: This penthouse apartment softens a       1500sqft south-facing terrace and a separate
downtown Chicago.                               strong, minimalist structure with the organic lines   1000sqft east-facing terrace. The balance of
    The award-winning building, created         of an expansive Japanese rooftop garden.              the exterior square footage is made up of a

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Top left: Contemporaine’s landmark 45ft canopy        dramatic walkway running along the side         a weighty feature, but in reality is only a    large catchment membrane runs under-             While winter renders the rooftop              ture finished in all-weather materials.
forms a wall for the outdoor living room.             of the penthouse.                               few inches deep – its serene aspect belying    neath the entire garden on both terraces.    largely a visual feature, through the rest            The transition between indoors and
                                                          “Given the sky-high location and its        the masterful behind-the-scenes irrigation         The garden’s mature pine trees can be    of the year it is used as an outdoor living       outdoors is almost seamless, and this is
Top right: The owner’s outdoor study is separated
                                                      proposed environment of boulders, water         required to maintain it.                       seen from the street below, making for a     space.                                            partly due to the one significant alteration
from other outdoor rooms by strategic plantings.
                                                      and 1200lb trees, issues of weight had to           “Basically, the irrigated garden, water-   sight as arresting as the building itself.       “As well as the garden itself, I had four     that Butcher made to the interior.
Above left: The inverted nature of every second
                                                      be addressed,” Butcher says. “To this end,      fall and pool all have to work within the          “The trees were craned up and            other needs for the apartment’s gigantic              “I dislike hallways employed purely
frame gives the glazing a Mondrian-like effect.       my Japanese gardener, Hoichi Kurisu,            constraints of the building’s existing roof    dropped straight into prepared beds,” he     exteriors: A sun deck, which is situated          as a functional transition; they just take up
                                                      designed faux boulders from concrete and        drainage system,” says Butcher. “Kurisu        says. “They have a bonsai quality to them,   on the east terrace; a dining setting, situ-      space. If a hall is necessary, it should also
Above right: Cantilevered balconies contribute to     stone. I hadn’t liked the concept originally,   designed a shallow aluminum pan to             having been trained and manicured by         ated on the larger south deck; an open air        fulfil an aesthetic function. Originally, the
Contemporaine’s already distinctive profile.          but the authentic look of Kurisu’s boulders     house the pool. Edged with stone and           Kurisu for a staggering 35 years.            living room, also on the south deck; and          apartment had a hall running right though
                                                      and their considerable weight difference        floored with black gravel, its inky reflec-        “Given Chicago’s climactic extremes,     along from this, an outdoor office.”              its center, with rooms such as guest bed-
Facing page: Opening lift doors reveal a view out     from real boulders, won the day.”               tive surface implies greater depths.”          heated underfloor pads help keep the trees       These disparate spaces are separated          rooms pushed out to the glass,” says
across pond, trees and garden to the cityscape.           The large ornamental pond also looks            In terms of the garden’s irrigation, a     healthy during the winter months.”           by planters and water features, with furni-       Butcher. “By moving the hallway hard up

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Top: Bamboo wall coverings extend the Japanese             to the north side of the apartment, both
theme in the elongated hallway.                            occupants and visitors experience the full
                                                           effect of a 100ft run of floor to ceiling glaz-
Above: Even touches, such as the hallway lights,
                                                           ing, looking out through water and trees
reflect an oriental theme. The apartment combines
                                                           to a breath-taking skyline.”
the contemporary and the Eastern throughout
                                                               To further this effect, the line between
Right: Low tech meets high tech with the overhead          indoors and out is blurred. Unpolished
candles made from wax, but illuminated with a bulb         slate surfaces outside are continued
instead of a wick. The patterns in the rug, designed by    inside, as are some flora elements. The
interior designer Richar, echo the slate surfaces in the   trickiest connection is a faux boulder that
hallway and outside. A simple, low-slung table and a       appears to reach right through the glass.
Japanese monk’s brick-patterned habit stretched out        In reality, it is cut in half, with one half
on the wall add to the Eastern influence.                  positioned outside and the other half

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Above: Granite countertops, blond cabinetry, and       realigned with it from inside.
an appliance wall underplay the presence of the            “Visitors step from the elevator straight
kitchen space, which is not in constant use.           out to this view,” he says. “The effect sets
                                                       the scene for the equally dramatic views
Right: Textures predominate in the 24ft-high central
                                                       from the apartment’s living spaces.”
living space, with soft furnishings contrasting the
wealth of steel, concrete and glass. Most furniture
                                                           Beyond the hall, on the east corner of
and the standing lamps are by French designer          the apartment, the open-plan living area,
Christian Liaigre. The floors are in rift oak and      opens up to a 24ft high wall of glass.
the predominating colors, found throughout the             “The Japanese aesthetic predominates
apartment, are chocolate and caramel.                  right through the interior as well,” says
                                                       Butcher. “For example, floor to ceiling
                                                       Japanese Shoji screens slide back on heavy
                                                       duty gliding mechanisms to divide or

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Top and facing page: The owner’s intention was to     combine entire rooms.”                          the interior to have a cold atmosphere.            No expense or design detail has been        Architect: Perkins & Will (Chicago)                  Oven: Miele
temper the minimalist, modernist space with soft          These were the concept of Butcher’s             “We took pains to avoid this feel          spared in this upmarket penthouse. Most         Developer: CMK Development                           Cooktop: Miele
finishes and textures. At the same time, Butcher      interior designer, Richar.                      – wanting instead to marry the cool, angu-     senses are catered to – from the sound          Owner: Jon Butcher                                   Refrigerator: SubZero
wanted the interior to be decidedly masculine.                                                                                                                                                       Principal contractor: Lochert Company                Bed: Christian Leigre
                                                          “Much of the apartment’s low slung          lar space with softer touches. The flowing     of the trickling waterfall outside, to the
For example, the bedroom carpet is in a dark,                                                                                                                                                        Interior designer: Richar Interiors                  Bathroom vanity: Nu Trends
                                                      furniture, another Japanese design con-         lines of falling drapes soften the strongly    views, to the soft touch of chenille, and
masculine color, but features alternating strips of                                                                                                                                                  Garden designer: Hoichi Kurisu                       Faucets and shower fittings: Dornbracht
pile cut and loop cut treatments to form a pattern
                                                      ceit, was originally designed by French         linear nature of the window frames in the      even to the sense of smell.                     Lighting designer: Bruce Yarnell                     Shower stall: Custom
of textures. The bedhead is covered in suede for a    furniture designer Christian Liaigre,”          living room, for example.”                         “The apartment is electronically savvy      Kitchen manufacturer: Bulthaup                       Flooring: Fantasy Brown
softer, pampering feel.                               says Butcher. “Richar looked at his work,           Throughout the interiort, soft is juxta-   – shades, lights, music, video, security, the   Furniture: Custom Christian Leigre                   Wallcoverings: Bamboo
                                                      displayed in Chicago by Holly Hunt, and         posed with hard, and warm sits alongside       waterfall, and even aromas all operate at       from Holly Hunt                                      Toilet: Toto
Above: The blond cabinetry in the kitchen is also     ordered customized variations appropri-         cool. Again, this can be seen in the central   the push of a button,” says Butcher. “The       Home automation: Media Tech
found in the bedroom and bathroom. A huge steam       ate to the apartment.”                          living space, with dark bronze stools sit-     aromas range from light woodland smells         Sink: Custom                                         Photography by John Umberger
shower dominates the bathroom space.                      With the apartment built in steel, glass,   ting alongside a delicate chenille-covered     for during the day, to muskier scents for       Faucets: Dornbracht
                                                      and concrete, there could be a tendency for     lounge suite.                                  the cocktail hour.”                             Countertops: Granite

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