“The former Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s will reopen in late spring with more trees and a sleeker, more contemporary design, courtesy of Carol Ross Barney, the renowned architect who co-designed the Chicago Riverwalk.
A popular tourist attraction for decades, Chicago’s flagship McDonald’s is undergoing a major remodeling to reflect the global fast-food chain’s pivot toward the future. Gone will be the remaining rock memorabilia and giant yellow arches, to be replaced by ordering kiosks, living plant walls and solar panels.
Once finished, a 19,000-square-foot one-story restaurant constructed of timber, steel and glass will replace the two-story, 24,000-square-foot McDonald’s that opened in 2005, which supplanted the original building that opened in 1983. The new design aims to be more pedestrian-friendly — there will be less parking — and more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly throughout…
‘It’s so interesting to work on a project like this because you’re designing for an icon,’ Ross Barney said.
Ross Barney said she considered the fast-food restaurant, like other projects in her portfolio, to be an opportunity to improve upon a public gathering space and, ultimately, make the city more livable for its residents. She was also drawn to McDonald’s desire for a more energy-efficient design — a personal passion of hers. Everything from the building’s heating and cooling system to the fryers are designed to use less nonrenewable energy.
And though there’s still a drive-thru, as well as a curbside pickup area for mobile ordering, the design is intended to attract more people on foot, she said.
‘The major change here is there’s been a rebalancing to where the design is about the neighborhood and it’s about people,’ Ross Barney said.”
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