Its web site promises“One Company Many Solutions” and it's hard to argue the point on the basis of a pair of Midwest projects undertaken by Chicago office of architect-engineer HDR this past year.

In addition to seeing its regional billings soar in 2011, the office undertook health care and environmental projects of surpassing complexity and importance, given their potential impact on human health and the health of the region's Great Lakes.

The first, the Rehabiliation Institute of Chicago (RIC), finds HDR joint-venturing with architect Gensler on a $462-million, 690,000-sq-ft replacement facility for RIC, commonly regarded as the foremost institution of its kind in the nation, if not the world. The new facility will be double the size of the existing one while establishing "a new paradigm of rehabilitation care – one that embeds RIC's leading research and clinical activities right into the patient-care setting."

The second, the Great Lakes & Mississippi River Basin Separation Study, resulted in a late-2011 report that presents and evaluate methods of separating the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds to prevent the spread of Asian Carp and other aquatic invasive species, with a primary focus on the Chicago Area Waterway System.

On the strength of these two projects, as well as a year of prodigious growth, ENR Midwest has named the Chicago office of HDR the region's Design Firm of the Year.

HDR will be profiled in the May 21 edition of ENR Midwest, along with coverage of the Midwest's Top Design Firms.

In the meantime, you can read more about HDR's involvement in the Great Lakes study by clicking here.