353 North Clark in Chicago

Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 353 North Clark in Chicago, Illinois
Construction progress: May, 2008

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353 North Clark

353 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, River North 60654
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

It's been said that if a new skyscraper isn't at least 80 stories, it goes unnoticed in Chicago. This fine tower may be a victim of that kind of dismissive attitude. It's a nice builting that would be welcomed in just about any other American city, but for some reason failed to make a splash in the birthplace of the skyscraper.
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At 45 stories, it's not setting any records; but it does something that few new buildings do these days -- it works with it surroundings. Blue glass always works well in Chicago, and the cladding of this building complements its greener-tinted neighbor at 300 North Clark. Moreover, its scale and proximity to the Chicago River make it a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
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But with such high-profile projects as the Trump International Hotel and Tower and the Waterview Tower being erected just blocks away, this building suffers from Jan Brady syndrome. Worse, even the marketing material that the developers put together only shows one full view of the building. Instead, the focus is on what office workers can see from the building. While this is important, people still like to be proud of the building in which they work.
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Visually, the building takes the basic glass box pattern and adds a few subtle variations in the form of vertical setbacks. While this could have given the building 18 glassed-in corner offices, it simply didn't happen. The setbacks are too minor to make a difference, and even if they were larger there are support columns at all of the corners except for the four primary ones.
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Mechanical floors are not hidden in this building, and are located at a similar height as the ones on the nearby IBM Building and the roof height of several nearby buildings. It's small touches like this that show the architects made an effort to to have the building blend in with its neighbors. On the roof a curved screen hides more mechanical elements.
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These attempts to play nice with the other towers in the neighborhood are negated by the fact that the building actually turns its back on the world around it. It desperately wants to be a Clark Street tower on the river even though its mass is located on the corner of Dearborn and Kinzie. But neither Dearborn nor Kinzie sell in Chicago. A Clark Street address is far more valuable so the building takes its address from that boulevard even though the only portion of it fronting Clark is an auditorium and a hundred linear feet of landscaped steps. The main entrance to this building is actually on Carroll Court, which the developer calls a private drive and touts as one of the building's amenities, along with "elegant sophistication" and "convenient restroom access."
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Again, these are not criticisms of the building. It's a great skyscraper and certainly 100% more welcome in this location than the surface parking lot and adult bookstores which preceded it. But we can't help but feel that it's getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop when it comes to marketing and promotion.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Official stories: 45
  • Missing levels: 2, 13
  • Additional levels: 46th floor mechanical penthouse
  • Lobby height: 32 feet
  • Passenger elevators: 24
  • Freight elevators: 2
  • Green roofs: 2
  • Floor space: 1,200,000
  • Parking spaces: 220
Timeline
  • November, 2006: Construction begins.
  • May, 2007: Crain's Chicago Business reports that Hines, the owner of two neighboring properties, is suing the developers of this building over the use of West Carroll Court which is a private road built for the Hines properties.
  • October 1, 2009: The first office tenants moved in.
  • December, 2009: Construction complete.
  • October, 2010: This building was sold to Tishman Speyer for $380 million.
Notes
  • Architect: Dirk Lohan
  • Design architect: Lohan Anderson
  • Architect of Record: A. Epstein & Sons
  • Structural engineer: A. Epstein & Sons
  • General contractor: Bovis Lend Lease
  • Developer: Mesirow Financial Real Estate
  • The lobby is finished in blue and grey granite with accents in grey and white marble.
  • The ground floor has an auditorium, a cafeteria, and a fitness center.
  • Property bounded by North Clark Street, North Dearborn Street, West Kinzie Street, West Carroll Court (private) and Lower West Carroll Avenue (public).
  • There is a green roof on top of the auditorium as well as the mechanical penthouse.
Stacking Diagram
46: 
37-45: 
33-36: 
23-33: 
22: 
20-21: 
14-19: 
13: 
4-12: 
3: 
2: 
1: 
Riverwalk: 
P2-P1: 
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=3167#Rate'>Current rating:50% 80%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  I liked seeing the building completed, when I went to Chicago on June 27, 2009. Although I forgot to write about it. It's so cool to see the building compliment Trump Tower Chicago nearby. Lohan Anderson is a great new Architecture Firm, hopefully they will propose more if Obama's Stimulus Plan works.

Brent Kampert - Monday, July 27th, 2009 @ 12:30pm  

  I like how it will rise in River North, can't wait to see it finished. Welcome new River North Skyline, also with 300 North LaSalle.

Brent Kampert - Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 @ 5:42pm  

  Nice building. Good to see things getting cleared out by good architecture.

Mike Enfield - Sunday, May 25th, 2008 @ 6:03pm