Driven By Design: A Curated Architectural Tour Behind the Wheel of Cadillac's Next-Generation Escalade

This post is in partnership with Cadillac. Kick back and enjoy the ride!

It is day one of Cadillac’s Driven By Design tour in Chicago. Key speaker and Architect Joseph Valerio of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates opens the floor by stating, “Design is driving every aspect of modern life. Good design equals pleasure, no matter if it is modern, rustic, or just plain funky. This is the new paradigm. It is driving architecture, graphic design, fashion, art, and of course, the design of automobiles.” I tend to agree.

With the help of Architectural Digest, Cadillac is gearing up for a full-blown, nationwide tour of their all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade. The auto-innovators are hitting up the most architecturally significant homes and buildings across the country, inviting drivers from each city to join in on the experience.

During his speech, Valerio touched on an important intent for the 2015 Cadillac fleet. “To move you from one place to another with the greatest pleasure. Movement equals pleasure through these inherently different designs.” I was expecting Cadillac to provide ‘movement with pleasure’. This is Cadillac, and they have never seem to let drivers down in the pleasure department. What I was not expecting was the Heads-Up Display, a crisp windshield hologram that allows drivers to see the speed and music notations without having to take their eyes off the road. I was also not expecting the hand-crafted interiors and seats with the option of being both heated or cooled. Nor was I expecting the impeccable 16-speaker BOSE Centerpoint Surround Sound system (music to my ears!), the invisible rear wiper, a rear hatch that opens with a swift foot movement under the rear bumper, or impressive safety features such as the Lane Departure Warning System, Rear Cross Traffic, Side Blind Zone Alert, Safety Alert Seat, and Forward Collision Alert.

From behind the wheel of the fresh new Escalade, we were led on a day-long architectural discovery driving tour. Our first stop on the tour was the Ambassador Residence in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects in collaboration with homeowner and interior designer Britt Tanner, the 5,400-square-foot penthouse apartment balances intimate spaces for a family of five, with social spaces for guests.

A curved staircase graces the art-clad foyer that connects to the living room, kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms. We were able to experience the profound design of every space in the home; each room was as stunning as the next. The interior acts as a neutral canvas for the owners’ vast art collection, which includes “Equinoxe” by Joan Miro, “Cow” by Andy Warhol, “Battleground” by CRASH, and an untitled abstraction painted by Richard Koppe in 1959.

Another smooth ride around town and we were at our second destination, Doblin House. Designed by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, this house has been inserted into the ruins of an early 20th-century factory of which only the common brick walls remain. The enclosure of the house is defined by a steel frame, suspended from the surrounding masonry walls and supported in the center by grid columns. Here, the old technology of the brick masonry stands in sharp contrast to the tension expressed by the steel glass. The home was created for ‘sworn-bachelor’, Dr. Bruce Doblin. Valerio explained. Shortly after completion, the space was then re-created with an architectural addition to make extra space for Dr. Doblin’s new girlfriend and son. Bachelor no more.

Left awestruck by Valerio’s Doblin House, we were then whisked away to another iconic piece of architecture, the WMS Boathouse in Clark Park designed by Studio Gang. Having only seen the angular building on the cover of various magazines, I had built up anticipation for this structure. Needless to say, the boathouse did not disappoint in real life. The architecture is intended to visually capture the poetic rhythm and motion of rowing. The entirety of the boathouse’s interior is outfitted in wood covered with schools of hand-painted goldfish that look like they're moving when hit by the light. Currently home to the Chicago Rowing Foundation, the boathouse supports the vitality of Chicago’s urban communities by providing a stimulating space where people from all over the city come together, making this a perfect final spot of the tour.

Beauty that endures - whether architectural or automotive - is driven by design, and that is the story of the next-generation Cadillac Escalade. Take a tour in your city, then kick back and enjoy the ride.

To find the Driven by Design tour in your city click here // Catch up with the Driven By Design tour on Pinterest.

Photography by Adam Green and Alex Hoxie in association with Green Sky Creative.


This post is in partnership with Cadillac