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400 East Randolph

A challenging renovation for a swimming pool atop a Chicago skyscraper

Built in 1963, 400 East Randolph is the location of the oldest and most established building in the Lake Shore East neighborhood of Chicago. The apartment building was later converted to condominiums in 1973. The 40-story skyscraper, designed by Reinheimer and Associates, has stunning views of Lake Michigan. 

One of 400 East Randolph’s most enticing amenities is the natatorium on the seventh floor. A steel-and-glass dome encloses the pool, spa and deck. Outside the dome, a well-landscaped patio is surrounded by private cabanas belonging to some of the condominiums owners. 

The natatorium on the seventh floor features a steel-and-glass dome enclosing the pool, spa and deck.

On the inside, the pool is large enough for residents to swim laps before they enjoy the bubbling waters of the spa. The pool is situated over a garage that occupies parts of the floors below; and it was here that a problem arose when, after many years of service, the pool began to leak. 

Dave’s Tile of Illinois (DTI) was selected as the contractor to repair and refurbish the pool. Lynn Smith of Habitat Condo Management met with Brian Castro and Gary Knutson of DTI to discuss possible solutions. The result is a waterproof pool tiled in mosaic and iridescent glass with a cool white-tiled deck and mosaic tiles in soothing hues of green and blue moving toward and up the sides of the elevated spa. After all the old tiles and fixtures in the pool were removed, the DTI crew began by smoothing the entire surface and then applied a system of MAPEI products including  MAPELASTIC flexible cementitious membrane for concrete waterproofing protection. For all surfaces in the pool, the installers set Daltile’s Keystone mosaic tiles combined with a 1%, 2%, and 3% mix of various hues of Daltile Sonterra glass tile. To ensure maximum flexibility and high bonding strength for the tiles in the pool, which was subject to extra movement due to the garage located beneath it, the team set the tiles with KERALASTIC mortar system.

Tiles were bonded in the pool with the KERALASTIC mortar system. Tile joints were grouted with KERAPOXY epoxy grout.
ADESILEX P10 was used to install colored mosaic tiles on the walls in the spa area.

All surfaces in the pool were grouted with KERAPOXY epoxy grout to protect against stains and provide chemical resistance. The 7.5×7.5 cm white tiles that cover most of the deck were set with KERALASTIC, and the same mortar system was used for the Keystone mosaic tiles for horizontal surfaces of the deck. ADESILEX P10 was used to set the colored mosaic tiles that form the sides of the three tiers leading to the spa. DTI installers also used ADESILEX P10 to enhance the sparkle of the Sonterra glass tile wall near the entrance to the natatorium. All deck and wall surfaces were grouted with ULTRACOLOR grout. 

The condominiums at 400 East Randolph are home to 955 owners and their families, and the pool is in constant use. During the day, the energy and bustle of the surrounding high-rises and office buildings are visible through the steel-and-glass dome, but the noise does not penetrate the restful interior. At night, the dome is lit by lights that change colors, providing an additional attraction to the ambiance. The natatorium is indeed a gem sparkling in the urban landscape, and MAPEI contributed, polishing it to a new luster.   

The refurbished pool, a sparkling gem in the urban landscape, is in constant use.
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Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN

Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor.

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