401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago

Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation

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401 North Michigan Avenue
Formerly:The Equitable Building

401 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, Near North Side 60611
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Certain companies have certain styles. It all starts with a logo. Then letterhead. Then the company vans. The next thing you know, you're a huge firm and you start making all of your buildings look the same.

That's what happened here. Just a glance and even a casual architecture observer will instantly think "Equitable." The insurance company built lots of these towers across the country with very little variation on the theme.

Some even still have a neon "EQUITABLE" sign at the top that lights up at night. This building has the sign, but it is no longer illuminated.

Now it's called 401 North Michigan Avenue and marks northeastern perimeter of the semi-public space known as Pioneer Court. The building is unlike its immediate art deco neighbors, so we are fortunate that it is set back a respectable distance from them. That was the doing of the Tribune Company which made sure the new skyscraper wouldn't overshadow its trophy tower on North Michigan Avenue.

Even though the black tower seems out of place, it is not alone. Just a couple of blocks away is another Miesian block, and together they make sure that the historic architecture of the city's most desirable corner doesn't forget that time marches on.

But before any of the fancy architecture starts to get a big head, it's important to note that Chicago's first piece of architecture was located here. This was where a Hatian man named Jean Baptiste Pointe Du
Sable built a cabin in the 1700's, making him the first non-indian to live in Chicago.

Quick Facts
Timeline
  • 1992: The courtyard in front of this building is renovated and connected to another public space, fulfilling the part of the city's 100-year-old master plan.
  • November, 2001: This building is sold to Zeller Realty for $120,000,000.
  • December, 2003: WMAQ television opens a $1,000,000 ground-floor showcase studio in this building.
  • May, 2007: WRDZ radio (1300 AM) moved into this building.
Notes
  • This was the site of John Baptiste du Sable's home. He was the first permanent resident of Chicago.
Did You Know?
  • The Chicago Tribune sold the land for this building to Equitable Insurance Company on the condition that their building could not be taller than the Tribune Tower
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=1020#Rate'>Current rating:50% 60%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  I worked here for four years and loved it. The views were great, the people and shops down below were great. Sitting at the river-level patio was great. Oh, and as a little boy I'd come and visit my dad in the office building, too, and remember when International Harvester (Navistar, International Trucks) was there and used to have their tractor-trailers on the plaza for show-and-tell! Jack Brickhouse on the plaza is cool, too. There's no more central spot downtown than 401! Oh, and there were always cute women, too (I think they all worked for Smith-Bucklin). The parking garage access was easy. You're right near great restaurants, etc. The Skidmore design was nice.

Steve Handwerker - Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 @ 4:03pm  

  NBC5's Street-Side Studio is located at this building

Charles - Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 @ 10:18pm  

  when i worked at Field's on State St. i used to take my lunch hour off and go watch it's construction. did they ever open the time capsule in 2000?

mike margolis - Sunday, February 12th, 2006 @ 2:47am  

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