Hey, Chicago!

June 7, 2022 • aaitken

We've opened our second office in The Second City!

We are thrilled to share the exciting news that WSA has officially opened a Chicago office. This expansion comes after a year of planning, and provides the opportunity for our team to join one of the world’s largest and most talented design communities. We are eager to engage in design dialogue, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.

Chicago, like Columbus, was founded adjacent to a major river. Named “Shikaakwa” (shi-caw-cway) by the indigenous Miami-Illinois people for the pungent leeks found near the water’s edge, Chicago grew from a fur trading capital established by Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable to the world’s fastest growing city by the late 19th Century. Its geographic location where east meets west with access to the Great Lakes and Mississippi River continues to make it a premiere location for commerce.

Why Chicago? Well, we recognize that the Chicago business community, start-up culture, and midwestern humility are not dissimilar from that of Columbus. Fueled by tremendous growth due, in part, to our partnership model and our growing expertise in the design of effective workplace environments, we are poised to take lessons learned on the road. The shared values in these midwestern markets provide a unique opportunity to remain committed to existing clients and collaborators while expanding our impact. We are eager to see how our work in Chicago impacts our work in Columbus, and vice-versa. Exchange of ideas, culture, and talent are a great equation for continued innovation.

WSA Chicago’s studio is located in the heart of the city’s Financial District on South LaSalle Street. “Amidst a wave of obituaries for the American downtown, the Loop held its own as a premier place to live, work, and play” says World Business Chicago, reflecting on the impacts of COVID-19. We were drawn to LaSalle Street for its architecture, cameo appearances in Home Alone 2, Batman Begins, and the Dark Knight, and an evolving conundrum: how do historic buildings meet contemporary workforce needs? Once dominated by banks, trading, and supporting institutions, LaSalle Street’s buildings are majestic, stately, and beautiful. Yet, as economic markets have shifted, most of these structures have tired and yearn to be rejuvenated. WSA’s experience with retrofits and renovations make this location a great fit. We stand ready to partner with landlords, tenants, and business owners to offer solutions that breathe new life into this historic corridor. While LaSalle Street might be our new work-home, we see great potential to engage across Chicagoland and “make no little plans” as the famous Chicago architect Daniel Burnham would have put it.

We are excited to take the CBUS to the Windy City, and look forward to catching a foul ball at a Cubs game, cheering on the Bulls, and seeking out that one bar in the fall that broadcasts Buckeye games.

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