77 West Wacker in Chicago

Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 77 West Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation

235 West Van Buren (Perkins+Will)

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77 West Wacker
Formerly:United Airlines Building
Formerly:77 West Wacker
Formerly:R.R. Donnelley Building

77 West Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60601
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77 West Wacker is a delightful melding of old and new. It takes a skeleton of traditional architecture with white granite columns, pediments, and the like and updates it by filling in the empty spaces with silver reflective glass. The result is something that is both comfortable and new. Familiar and still interesting. It makes you wonder what the Romans would have been up to by now had their empire not collapsed all those centuries ago.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Rentable floor space: 959,258 square feet
Timeline
  • April 18, 1990: Groundbreaking
  • July 26, 1991: This building tops out.
  • 1995: In a Chicago Tribune poll, this building is named one of the city's ten favorite buildings (It came in #7).
  • 2006: This building is renamed the United Airlines Building. The airline got $$6,600,000 in tax breaks to move its headquarters from the suburbs into this building.
  • 2007: United Airlines added a large illuminated "UNITED" sign to the top of this building.
  • August 13, 2012: United Airlines announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters down the street to the Willis Tower.
Notes
  • Architect: Ricardo Bofill
  • Developer: Prime Group
  • It is not uncommon for skyscrapers to skip a floor or two here and there. In most the 13th floor is skipped because of superstition. In this building the 49th floor is skipped so it can claim to be 50 stories tall.
  • The cladding is Portuguese Royal granite.
  • This was Ricardo Bofill's first American skyscraper.
Did You Know?
  • This was one of the filming locations for the movie The Negotiator.
  • This was one of the filming locations for the movie A Lover For My Husband.
Look For
  • Gables over the entrances that echo the pediments at the top of the building.
Quotations

    -"Wafer-thin granite columns seemingly glued onto its silver-tinted glass, 77 W. Wacker is disturbingly two-dimensional, a kind of paste-on Parthenon."

    -Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2003
Forum Discussions Talk about this building with other architecture enthusiasts
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=1062#Rate'>Current rating:50% 70%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
Your Thoughts

There are nine comments.

  Impressive. Yes. Yet, somehow too academic, lacking this difficult to define original spirit, the building like that should radiate. Does it communicate any new, exciting idea - especially, when viewed in its immediate context? Great project, maybe, linking old canon of beauty and new technology, and with time it will gain more "patina", but not something deserving 5* - in Chicago, after all :)

Wojciech W-W - Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:03pm  

  Romanesque, pediment, cornice,Tympanum, verticality, columns, grid, linear, a traditional roman architecture in the XXI century? Could Chicago architects think outside the box, outside the straight line, outside the square, outside the tradition? This building is the expression of poor creativity, Intellectually boring, zero inspirational. My eyes are hurt when I see it. it is very sad to have such a traditional building. It represents a tomb stone that kills the human artistic creative spirit. It is the opposite to the meaning of LIBERTY.

DARIO NAQSH - Sunday, October 7th, 2012 @ 9:45pm  

  One of the more pleasing examples of post-mod (which by now I suppose must be thought of as an historical style), allusive without being arch or parodic. Airy granite surface detail is just that, superficial, with no role in the building's structural scheme, but it certainly helps to define the building's presence against the sky..

Alan Follett - Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 @ 9:26pm  

  I just love it. Combines simplicity with elegance - beautiful but not overstated. This building just mezmerized me - inside and out. Quite gorgeous when it's lit up at night too.

Shereen F. - Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 @ 8:42pm  

  My husband was the project manager for Harmon Contract Glazing on this project! Beautiful building!

Angie - Saturday, June 13th, 2009 @ 8:24am  

  This building's lobby has gained a firm place in my "best architectural memories" since visiting in 1997. And that's quite astonishing since Chicago is full of buildings that are milestones in the history of architecture.The white parian (i.e. from the greek island of Paros) marble and the soft whisper of thin water foils falling from the walls created a magically quiet atmposphere.

Leonardo Scalfi - Friday, April 24th, 2009 @ 9:33am  

  This is a wonderful building, its pattern is graceful but simple.

Sean - Friday, September 5th, 2008 @ 5:13pm  

  The only reason I can't give 5 stars is I don't know many details. But for it's beauty, it is difficult to surpass. It's combination of traditional form and modern materials give it a distinct look that mimics earlier Chicago arcitecture, and current. The way nature reflects off of extensive areas of glass makes it begin to disappear against the sky, interrupted only by it's minimalist exo-structure.

Aryn Alschuler - Friday, May 30th, 2008 @ 8:41pm  

  My girlfriend calls this the Plaid Building.

Clint - Sunday, January 20th, 2008 @ 2:21pm  

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