The transformation of the Midtown Athletic Club came at a crucial moment for the fitness center. Located in a previously industrial area of Chicago, a newly-redesigned major intersection adjacent to the center increased accessibility, uniquely positioning the Club between three large neighborhoods in Chicago. The renovations aimed to reimagine the Center from an indoor tennis club to the largest lifestyle and social hub in the city.
Although Midtown Athletic Club is now an international institution, it started in the 1970s with a single location in Chicago. As time wore on though, the industrial neighborhood that the club called home began to change, as neighborhoods do. When a major intersection nearby was redesigned and accessibility subsequently increased, the fitness center now found itself at the crossroads of three large neighborhoods, like the spoke of a wheel.
With the potential and ability to serve a broader audience and contribute on a larger scale to the surrounding neighborhood culture, Midtown Athletic Club aimed to move from an indoor tennis club to an urban recreational hub.
The 50,000 square-foot renovation, a collaboration between DMAC Architecture and Hoerr Schaudt, culminated in a new facility that now includes fitness centers, tennis courts, spa services, retail, restaurants, entertainment and event spaces, a large outdoor amenity deck and pool, and the 55-room Hotel at Midtown.
Hoerr Schaudt instilled a strong indoor-outdoor connection within the center, moving nature as close to the building as possible while maintaining and optimized exterior space. The project sought to maximize the use of horticulture as an architectural and functional element to reinforce its connection to nature. In the outdoor café, a tree grove stood in for a pergola to provide much-needed shade. Along the façade trees were used to form a vegetated veil between the interior rooms and the outdoor space, increasing privacy, decreasing energy usage and enhancing views.