111 East Wacker in Chicago

Photo of 111 East Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 111 East Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 111 East Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 111 East Wacker in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation

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111 East Wacker
Formerly:One Illinois Center

111 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60601
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It's a shame that the anchor of such an important real estate complex is so... boring. The Illinois Center covers 83 acres along the main branch of the Chicago River. As such, it is one half of the gateway welcoming visitors to the city who choose to arrive by water.

It is seen in this context by local sailors returning from a weekend of fun, and by tourists who get to delight in the waterway running through Chicago's skyline just before the figure out their tour is about to end. At the heart of this complex is One Illinois Center. It is yet another black glass box that doesn't garner the same notoriety as its cousin, the IBM Building, a little bit downstream. Still, it's better than the mucky abandoned Illinois Central rail yard and warehouses it replaced.

One Illinois Center epitomizes the neighborhood it is in -- sterile, impersonal, and woefully negligent in providing anything on a human scale. Later additions to this area have tried to add a little diversity to the area, but even thought there are thousands of people living here, and thousands more tourists staying here, you'd never know it. There are few amenities, and even the cafes foolishly think boasting of being open from 11am-2pm is a good thing.

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method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=1159#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 seven comments.

  An interesting historical sidelight: as I recall, the original design of the first two Illinois Center buildings included sun-tracking mirrors mounted on the roof edges, which were intended to reflect sunlight into the deeply-shadowed plaza below. A clever idea, perhaps, but the technology of the time wasn't up to it; I don't believe they ever got the system to work as intended..

Alan Follett - Thursday, September 6th, 2012 @ 12:17pm  

  Mies Van Der Rohe....I was looking at it the other day, watching the boats pass in the reflection in it's windows and thought. This one is so good, it has to be an authentic Van Der Rohe. It is. You can look at the mona lisa and say, "She ain't that hot," and everyone knows you are an idiot. The same goes for this building.

andy - Sunday, April 15th, 2012 @ 9:53pm  

  I agree that it's not the most aesthetically pleasing building, but it fits in the canvas of architecture that defines our city. Couple that with access to the awesome pedway (I work in this building, so I'm biased), and it's a solid 3 1/2 stars.

Jonny G - Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 @ 12:58pm  

  I think this building is a great example of a style of architecture which was the avant garde architecture of a period encompassing approximately the middle of last century 1939-1960's.

Mike K. - Sunday, January 17th, 2010 @ 4:39pm  

  I agree with David Shmuel, if they want it to look nicer on the river, repaint the whole building blue-green. Or even like the already built Swissotel on the river. It looks bad for it's current color.

Brent Kampert - Friday, August 15th, 2008 @ 2:41pm  

  The style of this architecture is historiric and its archetect was a genius. No, we don't want every building to look like this but it would be a foolish and boring world that did not explore this extrodinary form of Inetrantional Modern archetecture, which was revolutionary and a revelation, when it was built.

Alan - Friday, August 15th, 2008 @ 10:05am  

  This is one of those structures that makes you want to shout that the 1970s are over. It represents the worst of the period, depressingly industrial and completely lacking in vision. There is nothing to make this building appealing to the eye.

David Shmuel - Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 @ 11:12pm