One Prudential Plaza in Chicago

Photo of One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

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One Prudential Plaza
Also known as:One Pru
Formerly:The Prudential Building

130 East Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60601
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Nothing screams 1950's architecture like a big limestone box with an equipment penthouse on the roof. There was an entire generation of architecture, not just in Chicago, where square stone, white, or glass boxes were in. The result is towers like this. Lifeless from a distance, they might as well hold cattle or cardboard boxes, for they completely fail to translate the imagination and inspiration of the human spirit into architectural form. They completely fail to soar skyward, but rather constrain people inside; obedient paper-pushers in their cubicle farm Hell. While that may seem a bit harsh, it's buildings like this that reflect not the grand spirit of freedom, but the conformity that inspired so many Soviet-era apartment blocks in Eastern Europe. Still, One Prudential Plaza isn't completely without merit. To start, it turned a portion of a dirty rail yard into productive commercial space. Further, this was the first skyscraper erected in the city after the Second World War, so that should count for something. Moreover, the building actually sports a work of art. The Prudential company's Rock of Gibraltar logo is in relief with gold accents on the lower extension of the building. This was executed by Alfonso Ianelli.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Rentable floor space: 1,200,000 square feet
Timeline
  • September, 2010: This building was named #29 on Chicago Magazine's list of the Top 40 Buildings in Chicago.
Did You Know?
  • This was the tallest building in Chicago when it was completed, taking that title away from the Chicago Board of Trade.
Look For
  • The company's logo (the Rock of Gibraltar) in relief on the 1968 addition. It was created by Alfonso Iannelli.
Related Links
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Your Thoughts

There are four comments.

  My dad was working in Chicago when this opened. I remember him telling me it had the fastest elevators in the world.

Ed L. - Sunday, August 10th, 2014 @ 11:07pm  

  One of the more creative features of the building's original design was its window system, designed to eliminate the need for external window washing. Windows were mounted on vertical center pivots, and held in place by inflatable rubber moldings. When washing was needed, the molding was deflated, enabling the former outside surface of the window to be rotated to the inside for safe, easy cleaning. The weakness of the system was the gradual deterioration of the moldings. Eventually, in 1997-98, the original system was replaced by more conventional fixed windows.

Alan Follett - Saturday, September 15th, 2012 @ 10:51am  

  I think this building is super, because it was constructed in the mid fifties, and for a couple of decades afterwards the observation deck on about the 39th or 40th floor was a downtown destination.

Mike K - Sunday, January 17th, 2010 @ 4:52pm  

  I love seeing old photos of when the 'P1' dominated the skyline in the mid 1950s. first skyscraper built after WWII in chicago. THough I wish they kept the original font on the 'Prudential' sign... very modern!

Kirby Cruz - Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 @ 6:55pm  

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