CNA Corporate Headquarters Relocation
Best Project

Owner: CNA Insurance
General Contractor: Executive Construction Inc./Turner Construction Co. (Joint Venture)
Lead Design Firm: IA Interior Architects
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
MEP Engineer: Syska Hennessy Group

Commercial insurer CNA has maintained corporate headquarters in Chicago’s Loop since 1900. On June 1, the company officially relocated to its newly constructed office space at 151 North Franklin. Occupying floors six through 18, the company now has increased space and updated technology for CNA’s more than 1,700 employees in northern Illinois. 

CNA’s floor design features an open office concept that encourages employee collaboration. The offices contain sit/stand workstations, video conference rooms, employee wellness suites, IT hubs, prayer rooms and pantries. The floors are also column-free and make use of daylight as much as possible. The 70-degree angle of the CNA logo is displayed throughout.

Neil Schneider, IA’s design director, says, “The drive was to make sure the space reflected the CNA brand. The idea was that without having to put logos everywhere, a gentle cant turned into acoustic panels, lighting, conference tables. The staff had a little game they played, Find the Cant. But it’s pretty understated. I think it will stay classic.”

Preconstruction and construction services were provided by a joint venture of Turner Construction Co. and Executive Construction Inc. This was the first joint venture for Executive Construction. 

According to members of both teams, the biggest challenge was the tight seven-month schedule. 

“We had some months of $8 million of work, and our biggest month was $9 million,” says Marty Wood of Turner Construction. “It was a short duration schedule, so what we’re most proud of is the way the design team, the owner’s team, the owner’s rep team all worked together to get the most bang for our buck on the project.” 

To help facilitate this tight turnaround, the design, construction and trade teams met daily and had materials such as studs, drywall, ductwork and conduit prestocked on each floor.

To best serve CNA’s needs, the design and construction teams developed a multilayered ceiling and engineered a sound masking system to create a hackable work environment, one meant to enrich innovative ideas for both individuals and teams.

According to Kevin Koronowski, project executive at Executive Construction, peak manpower consisted of a crew of 200 who worked across the 13 floors, which totaled 300,000 sq ft. 

“It all started with the BIM coordination process,” Koronowski says. 

Preconstruction involved BIM to expedite the installation of all overhead MEP systems. The BIM process helped the teams work through any potential conflicts and avoid the cost of rework, all to make that seven-month schedule.”