The Crain Communications Building in Chicago

Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
  Scroll down for more pictures  
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Wrigley

Posted to the Flickr Pool by stvk5

Add your photos!

Royalty-free architecture stock photography

The Crain Communications Building
Also known as:Diamond Building
Formerly:150 North Michigan Avenue
Formerly:Smurfit-Stone Building
Formerly:Stone Container Building
Formerly:Associates Center

150 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60601
Previous   Random   Next


Print this page   •   Share this page   •   Map This

One of Chicago's signature skyscrapers, what the Smurfit-Stone building lacks in height, it more than makes up for in style. Its gleaming white exterior is accented with dark pinstripes of windows. Its orientation embraces Lake Michigan just a few hundred yards away, while at the same time it's characteristic slanted roof mimics, mocks, or yearns to be part of the sailboat crowd in the nearby Chicago Harbor. The Citicorp Center in New York and other skyscrapers have experimented with slanted roofs. What makes the Smurfit-Stone building special is the orientation of the slant. The architects didn't merely take a square and cut a wedge out of it like a children's block. They cut it on an angle, using a simple subtractive motion to create a diamond shape in the sky. Closer examination reveals that it isn't even a simple diamond, but rather two nearly identical triangles, but that is a detail lost on most observers. What they delight in is the notion that the building is still not done inventing itself. That it is growing with a leading angle like a massive lily sprouting on the lakeshore. Others fail to see the beauty and whimsy intrinsic to this building. Instead, they see it as an affront to the other classic Chicago architecture on Michigan Avenue. But if not for those buildings that stand out, would not the Avenue's marble cliff seem that much more ordinary and under appreciated?

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Rentable floor space: 625,205 square feet.
Timeline
  • 2010: This building's name was changed from Smurfit-Stone Building to 150 North Michigan Avenue.
  • 2011: Smurfit-Stone moved out of this building after being bought by a company in Georgia.
  • March, 2012: The building name was changed to Crain Communications Building.
Notes
  • The building that used to be on this site was the John Crerar Library. The 14-story building was erected in 1920 and designed by Holabird and Roche.
  • One of the bogus "facts" sometimes presented by Chicago tour guides is that this building's sloping roof was designed to keep it's shadow from falling on a beach. This is incorrect. There isn't a beach anywhere near this building. There was a controversy over a building on Lake Shore Drive casting a shadow on the Ohio Street Beach in 2006, but that building was erected anyway with no alterations to its plan.
  • The top five floors of this building are empty and are not included in its official floor count.
Did You Know?
  • Three years after its completion, this building played a central role in the film Adventures In Babysitting.
Forum Discussions Talk about this building with other architecture enthusiasts
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=1007#Rate'>Current rating:50% 80%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
The Crain Communications Building in Chicago.  Photo by john kovacich
Photo by john kovacich
Your Thoughts

There are 17 comments.

  I was the design architect for what I originally called "One Park Place". It was a competition of sorts. When I presented my design to the developer whom I had never met, he turned to the construction mgr and said "Harold thats the building we're going to put on the site".That began a long friendship. The building was also used in an Apple commercial when they introduced the 1st MAC. It is gratifying after all these years to read the appreciation people impart to my design.

Shel Schlegman - Sunday, June 1st, 2014 @ 11:43am  

  I used to travel to Chicago for work. So glad it was this building I cam to, so easy to point out to people.It also appears in an episode of South Park.

Nick Slikk - Sunday, May 11th, 2014 @ 7:03am  

  I think it's a great building because for my math project in class i have to build this building i think it's very awesome and i really want to see it from up close.

Tyrianna Hunter - Thursday, April 25th, 2013 @ 12:41pm  

  I may be biased, but I think that we still have the most amazing skyline in the world. The architecture in Chicago is diverse and filled with history, some of the greatest architects have contributed to this wonderful city. The Smurfit building is one of the most distinct and has become a focal point amongst all of the great buildings that frame it. I cannot imagine Chicago without it.

Milka Stanojevich - Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 @ 10:56am  

  A great design that fits distinctly into the Chicago skyline with a great location to provide a proper view of its unique roof.

Distinctive roof and style - Thursday, November 19th, 2009 @ 7:53pm  

  Now looking at the building from Millennium Park, one can see a great contrast with this building and Chicago's Trump Tower, but when looking from Buckingham Fountain, this building looks so much shorter to the other building than in 2007. With more taller buildings, it still stands out greatly in Chicago's Skyline. BCBS extension, 340 On The Park, Trump Tower Chicago, Aqua, 2 Pru, and Aon Center make it seem so much shorter, that the building has that angled power so it will not be missed or mistaken in the skyline. People will recognize Chicago on a foggy or cloudy day when the taller buildings are covered up in clouds or mist and see the building's angled roof and say "we are in Chicago".

Brent Kampert - Sunday, October 11th, 2009 @ 1:49pm  

  It is so immediately recognizable as Chicago's skyline. We're lucky to have it. I also like the the urban myths that accompany it. Makes adults giggle. We need more of that--giggling, of course.

J C Lennon - Sunday, May 17th, 2009 @ 9:21am  

  It's a beautiful building on the inside also. If your one of the lucky who've had a chance to work in the building, the view from the top floors overlooking the lake is beautiful.

Kevin - Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 @ 9:06pm  

  Not only in Adventures in Babysitting, but this building is also rapidly showed in Cheaper by the Dozen.

Artur - Sunday, August 17th, 2008 @ 1:10pm  

  I agree with Franz Hursker, because every time I go downtown, I get overwhelmed and excited!

Brent Kampert - Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 @ 8:08pm  

  One of my favourite Chicago buildings. I always look forward to seeing it when I visit.

Franz Hursker - Monday, May 19th, 2008 @ 1:56pm  

  this is the quintissential midwestern gal visiting the city with big-80's hair (and she still thinks she looks great)

JL - Friday, November 2nd, 2007 @ 2:05am  

  the prettiest building on the skyline. id love to visit it!

anne - Sunday, April 8th, 2007 @ 4:26am  

  This building with its diamond shaped top does stand out as you travel the lake front. When traveling into the city with first time visitors, they always comment on the building with the unusual roof. So I guess the designers accomplished one goal in drawing attention to it.

Thomas Semesky - Monday, November 27th, 2006 @ 1:29pm  

  This is the best skyscraper in Chicago with it's slanted diamond shaped roof, you can see it from the planetarium, as a great skyline addition for Chicago.

Brent Kampert - Sunday, November 5th, 2006 @ 6:12pm  

  On April 30, 2006, I went to a wedding in the One Prudential Plaza. I had a great view of what I often call the "Adventures in Babysitting Building". I was really excited after I read the "Did you know" section about this building.

Lala - Sunday, April 30th, 2006 @ 1:10am  

Name:

Please tell us your name (Example: "Jim W.")
It doesn't have to be your real name, but it's more social that way.

E-mail address:

E-mail address is used for validation only. It will not be displayed.
We do not spam.

Your location:
Your rating:
Your comments:
Current month (MM): This helps fight spam bots.
Current year (YYYY): This also helps fight spam bots.