333 Wacker Drive in Chicago

Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
  Scroll down for more pictures  
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

360

Posted to the Flickr Pool by ryback80

Add your photos!

Royalty-free architecture stock photography

333 Wacker Drive

333 Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60606
Previous   Random   Next


Print this page   •   Share this page   •   Map This

Text by Wayne Lorentz

It’s not the tallest. It’s not the most expensive. But 333 West Wacker is still one of the superstars of the Chicago skyline. The main feature of this office tower is the great blue-green curve of glass that it presents to the northwest, as the Chicago River splits into its Northern and Southern branches. Much has been written about how this curve reflects the setting sun and bathes the building in a fiery display. We haven’t seen it. One freezing February afternoon we sat along Wacker Drive as the sun set behind us and waited for light show. What we saw was the building running through progressively darker shades of green until the sun completely set. We’ll have to try the experiment again in the warm weather.

The building is more than just a sweeping arc of glass. The rear of the building has to adhere to the city’s street grid, and does so with a parallelogram marked by notches that create more offices with coveted corner windows. Toward the top the two shapes are reconciled when six floors of the arc bend a little more sharply and intersect with the square form behind. From the sides it looks like sharp angles poking from the graceful glass curtain wall – bat ears jutting out on either side.

The base of this building is also worth noting. Done in traditional stone, it forms an elongated X across the front of the building. The void at the bottom of the shape is the main entrance. This shape adds to the illusion that the main body of the building – the green glass curve – is hovering above the city, represented by the hard stone forms below. This is heightened by the fact that part of the building actually does overhang the sidewalk at two of the edges, where 333 West Wacker’s support columns are visible.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Floor space: 1,039,987 square feet
Timeline
  • 1995: 333 West Wacker Drive was voted Favorite Building by the readers of the Chicago Tribune.
  • 1997: The building was sold for an estimated $100,000,000.
  • August, 2004: This building was bought by Kam Am for $252,000,000.
  • September, 2010: This building was named #27 on Chicago Magazine's list of the Top 40 Buildings in Chicago.
Notes
  • Architecture firm of record: Perkins and Will
  • Design architecture firm: Kohn Pedersen Fox
  • Architect: William Pedersen
  • The base of the building is Vermont marble and granite.
Did You Know?
  • This building was featured in the film Ferris Beuler's Day Off as the location of Ferris' father's office.
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=1059#Rate'>Current rating:50% 80%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
333 Wacker Drive in Chicago.  Photo by Daniel Kestin
Photograph courtesy of Daniel Kestin
Your Thoughts

There are six comments.

  A wonderful match of design to site; it's difficult to imagine this building working as well anywhere else, or any other building complementing the curve of the river as well. It's no coincidence, I imagine, that the green glass echoes the usually-greenish waters of the Chicago River.

Alan Follett - Monday, September 10th, 2012 @ 10:44am  

  Having worked in this building for some time, I can truly say that it was a joy going to work every day. Not only is the exterior of this building beautiful, the views of the northwest skyline are phenomenal, especially when a summer rain storm marches across the horizon toward the loop.

Matanuska - Friday, July 10th, 2009 @ 5:39pm  

  This is the best example of architecture in Chicago. If you didn't know William Pedersen (the person who designed the building is also doing the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Amazing Building you just have to love it. - Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 @ 4:30pm  

  I have always loved this building and its smooth curve and refreshing blue tint. It was always an architectural highlight for me when I strolled about downtown Chicago.

David Shmuel - Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 @ 11:10pm  

  Just one more striking example of Chicago Architecture. I love it when an Architiect sees a location and turns it into something great! I really don't think that any other building can match this for its disign in its location on the fork in the river. This is one of my favorite buildings! Pedersen, I take my hat off. Great job!!!

Digital junkie - Monday, July 23rd, 2007 @ 3:29am  

  Magnificent-Architecture at it's best!

Joseph M. Dixler - Thursday, June 8th, 2006 @ 6:09pm  

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.