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Carbide And Carbon And Wrigley Building - Two Chicago Classics
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Left middle: The Carbide & Carbon Building, 40 floors, 503 feet / 153 meter, at the southwest corner of Michigan and Water, completed in 1929, was built in Art Deco style as an office tower. Today it is the Hard Rock Hotel.
This it is not your typical Art Deco Chicago skyscraper.
Most of Chicago's Art Deco architecture is clad in light gray Bedford limestone. The Carbon & Carbide Building, however, has a unique array of colors covering its facade. Composed of a polished black granite base and a tower covered in deep green terra cotta, it stands out as a one-of-a-kind landmark on the Michigan Avenue skyline. Extensive use of gold leaf is another highlight of the building's features. It's not just on the edges of the building - it virtually coats the spire and drapes itself across the shoulders and setbacks of the upper levels. But the glitter is not reserved for those in the stratosphere - the gold accents continue all the way down to street level. All that glitz isn't an accident. There is an urban legend which states that the shape and color of the building were inspired by a champagne bottle. It's not that hard to imagine it as a green curvy bottle with bubbly foaming from the top and dripping down the sides.
With its celebratory origins, the Carbide & Carbon Building is a truly authentic building that simply refuses to be ignored.
Left back: The biggest, brightest jewel in Chicago's architectural crown belongs not to some glass and steel skyscraper, but to an historic office building with wedding cake flair and a clock tower. The Wrigley Building, completed in 1921, is actually two buildings joined by a 14th floor skywalk and a street-level arcade. Its gleaming white facade is an icon of the city, even when the quarter million terra cotta tiles are lit in different colors by banks of floodlights.
The shape of the lot the Wrigley building is on is quite an advantage. The space is an obtuse triangle with two sides facing south and southeast. This gives the building maximum exposure to pedestrian, vehicular, and boat traffic. The remaining side faces into the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which was designed to reflect the Wrigley Building's beauty and acknowledge its presence through setbacks that keep Trump from crowding this beloved edifice.
October 21st, 2012
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