Chicago, IL – April 18, 2018. For locals and visitors alike, Hyde Park holds a unique place in the history of Chicago. This historic neighborhood, home to the University of Chicago and one of the most racially and culturally diverse areas in the city, has a rich legacy of intellectual, artistic and cultural innovation that continues to this day. The developers and designers of the first luxury boutique hotel in Chicago’s South Side in over a generation took inspiration from this unique heritage when creating SOPHY Hyde Park. The name of this new 98-room boutique hotel is rooted in the Greek word “sophia,” meaning wisdom and dedication to excellence through the pursuit of knowledge. It pays tribute to Hyde Park’s unique legacy and is reflected in both SOPHY’s architecture and design.
Located in the heart of Hyde Park at 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue and scheduled to open in summer 2018, the property is close to the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Museum of Science and Industry, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and the site of the future Barack Obama Presidential Library.
“From the outset,” said Mike Zimmerman, Vice President of Development for The Olympia Companies, “we wanted the design of the hotel to reflect the eclecticism of Hyde Park’s history, manifested in a richness and layering of design elements that invited curiosity and intellectual engagement.”
The Lobby Lounge at SOPHY Hyde Park
Architecture by GREC Architects
"SOPHY's design pays respect to the rich history and diversity of architecture in Hyde Park, while celebrating new technologies and innovations," says Greg Randall, a Principal of GREC Architects, the architect of the project. "The hotel is cozy and artful, yet provocative. We organized the ground floor to create an atmosphere of discovery for guests. From the warm, inviting front entrance, to the secluded, landscaped outdoor terrace, SOPHY creates a meaningful environment for hotel guests and the Hyde Park community."
Brick masonry appears as a common theme and will be embraced in SOPHY’s facade, which will be clad in Norman brick, similar to the elongated masonry module employed by Wright on the Robie House. The punched windows of dark metal and glass pay homage to Chicago’s progressive industrial era. A lobby lounge and bar was designed to anchor the restaurant and make it a neighborhood destination.
Interior Design by Stonehill Taylor
“SOPHY stands apart from bustling downtown Chicago as a sophisticated sanctuary reflective of surrounding Hyde Park,” says Michael Suomi, Principal, Stonehill Taylor, the firm responsible for the hotel’s interiors. “Each space in the hotel celebrates the arts, sciences, music and literature. We combine upscale materials with sinuous forms to achieve an elegant aesthetic throughout and crafted expansive public areas and oversized guestrooms, layering in textures and a prominent art package. Our goal is to create luxurious yet intimate spaces reminiscent of the neighborhood’s residential interiors.”
These sinuous forms can be found in the reception lobby, where a 1,000 lb. swirling chandelier inspired by Hyde Park’s musical legacy overlooks a 15 foot double sided fireplace that connects and separates it from the multi-faceted lounge. Business casual by day and subtly sophisticated by night, the lounge connects to the bar, which is inspired by the scientific discoveries that Hyde Park has witnessed over the last century, manifested in metals, geometric motifs and orbital light fixtures. Local 20th century literary figures have influenced the decor of the restaurant, which has been imagined as an author’s dining room, with bookshelves carved into columns to partition seating areas. Walls feature a gallery of book covers and original pieces by local artists inspired by the literature of Hyde Park. The design of the guestrooms, which include standard rooms and larger suites, was inspired by the incredible fine arts legacy of Hyde Park. Each room is anchored by an 8 foot abstract painting by local artist Joey Korom, rendered in fabric, and is finished with books, ornaments and even a record player with a selection of local musicians on vinyl. With hardwood floors, area rugs, custom lighting and a comfortable seating area, these unique hotel rooms aim to inspire guests to build on Hyde Park’s amazing legacy.
King Guestroom at SOPHY Hyde Park
The Olympia Companies is an innovative leader in high profile real estate development, equity investment and hospitality management projects throughout the U.S. It is responsible for a new breed of sustainable, environmental and philanthropic hotels that it has developed, managed and /or owns. The dynamic and seasoned executive team at the helm of The Olympia Companies delivers expertise in hotel development, LEED building design and construction, project management, operational oversight, branding, feasibility and market analysis, as well as sales and marketing. The company currently has 23 hotel projects under management or development in the U.S. For more information, visit www.theolympiacompanies.com
SMART Hotels LLC develops eco-friendly campus hotels and mixed-use projects at prominent universities and medical centers around the country. SMART Hotels is led by Jon Adams and Ed Small, who bring a triple-bottom line commitment to deliver successful projects that are environmentally sustainable and favorably impact campus and community. For more information, visit www.smarthotelsgroup.com