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Chicago Skyline From Millenium Park
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© Christine Till
Far left: 311 South Wacker Drive
Also known as: The Wedding Ring Building
Also known as: The White Castle Building
311 South Wacker Drive, a 70-foot-tall, 65-foot-wide barrel which uses an octagonal main shaft clad in pink granite from Texas, is a worthy accompaniment to the Sears Tower next door. Think of it as the cute girl next door to the big brute looking down on her.
Lit up in white at night, and surrounded by four smaller and nearly identical forms - it's like a central diamond surrounded by accent diamonds in an engagement ring.
Left (blue): The New Roosevelt University Building
At 32 stories, this is the tallest educational building in Chicago and a prominent symbol of Roosevelt University in an area crowded with urban colleges of varying pedigrees. While its function is utilitarian, its form is certainly a statement by the University that it is a major player in midwestern education. The students who live and learn in this building can be proud of the structure.
The variations in glass color give some additional visual interest to what might otherwise be a simple funhouse mirror surface. The varying shades of blue "windows" are reminiscent of clouds against a blue sky. The sleek, undulating surface with its unusual overhangs is very appealing; it takes the Wabash Street architecture to a new level.
Center: CNA Center
It's not a massive structure by Chicago standards - just 44 stories - and as odd as the red color is, it's not the old colored skyscraper in Chicago.
Like a beauty queen it stands there among the other contestants beaming and waving. It's red color makes the building stand out from all of the other different buildings in the skyline.
Center (front): McCormick Building
Robert Hall McCormick built this building in 1910 directly across Michigan Avenue from Grant Park. It has the most beautiful lobby I've every seen, and it's almost all orignal.
The top six floors of this charming structure, a classic "turn of the century" (yes, that OTHER century), were gutted and re-built as condos in the late 90s.
Right: The Metropolitan Tower
Formerly: Britannica Center
Formerly: Continental National Insurance Company Building
Formerly: Straus Building
This is a building with a lot of classic archtiture details. Its interior is as interesting as its exterior.
It is thought that the beacon at the top of this building was designed to look like a beehive, symbolizing industriousness (busy as a bee). If you like the beehive on the top, you'll love the high-relief elevator doors which continue the theme.
The Beehive and Pyramidal Roof makes the structure stand out, especially at night when the glass beehive lights up blue and the pyramidal roof lights up yellow. It's a highlight of Chicago's S. Michigan Ave.
Far right (small): Railway Exchange Building
At first glance, this is the prototypical Chicago commercial building, but this one is a little better than the rest. Covered in white terra cotta, it has some nice touches that make it stand out. Things like the portholes along the cornice to let natural light into upper level inner offices, and tall bay windows - the predecessors of today's premium corner offices.
November 4th, 2012
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