225 West Wacker in Chicago

Photo of 225 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 225 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 225 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 225 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation

A marching army.

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225 West Wacker

225 West Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60606
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This is what happens to castles when they grow up. 225 West Wacker Drive is a bean-counter-safe 1980's beige-and-glass tower combined with some decorative touches that make it actually likeable as a building. Start with the narrow front facing Wacker Drive -- it is two columns with pairs of windows in pairs punched through the façade. But as you reach the upper stages, there is more. A two-story collar separates the basic skyscraper shaft from a tall vaulted finish. The center column that runs down the front disappears and the windows are united in a large glass curtain capped by an arch. A looming presence looking down on the street below and helps increase this building's stature beyond its restrictive lot line. Each of the four corners is capped with a turret featuring a simplified spire. Looking along the side of the building, the upper register is filled with triple-story windows topped by cross braces, giving the illusion of classical flying buttresses. Historic themes aside, this building likes to play nice with its neighbors. The ground floor features air handling ducts in circles similar to the round shapes employed by 333 West Wacker next door. And the spires are reminiscent of the ones across the river at the Merchandise Mart. In all, a pleasant building that makes good use of available space and is just different enough to be architecturally significant.

Quick Facts
  • Developer: Palmer Group
  • Developer: North America Taisei Corp.
  • Architect: William Pedersen
  • General contractor: Crane Construction
  • This building's top was inspired by Navy Pier, just down the river.
Look For
  • Circular forms that echo the circular slatted vents from 333 West Wacker Drive next door. Both were designed by William Pederson.
  • Falcons. There are a couple of falcon nests in the Loop, and while this isn't where one of them is located, this is a favorite resting spot for the birds as they patrol the skies along the river and ride the thermal currents created by the Loop skyscrapers.
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Your Thoughts

There are two comments.

  Worked at the original developer, North America Taisei on the 19th floor for 3 years through 1993. The 4-turret design is unique, classic and decorative. The famous Chicago wind is usually the strongest at the building's northwest corner, where Randolph meets Wacker, sometimes necessitating pedestrians to take refuge in the recess.A movie, Hero (1992), starring Geena Davis, Dustin Hoffman, and Andy Garcia was filmed here.

Michael Yamada - Thursday, March 31st, 2016 @ 1:41pm  

  There's no denying this is a KPF designed tower! KPF is one of my favorite groups, but any number of their buildings can look similar in certain ways. Even if some of those ways are small and subtle. Still, I love their charisma and their overall style! I had the priveledge of working in a KPF designed skyscraper in Lexington, KY for over 4 years!

Michael Davis - Saturday, September 19th, 2009 @ 11:36pm