Chicago Architecture Info

77 West Wacker

77 West Wacker Drive, Chicago

Facts

Formerly
  • United Airlines Building
  • 77 West Wacker
  • R.R. Donnelley Building
Address 77 West Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601
Neighborhood The Loop
Built 1992
Developer Prime Group
Architecture firm Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura
Architecture firm of record DeStefano and Goettsch
Architect Ricardo Bofill
Cost $80,000,000
Type
  • Office
  • Retail
  • Skyscraper
Floors 50
Height 668 feet
Rentable floor space 959,258 square feet

Notes

  • It is not uncommon for skyscrapers to skip a floor or two here and there. In many, 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.
  • The gables over the entrances of this building echo the pediments at the top of the building.
  • 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.

Timeline

April 18, 1990 Groundbreaking
July 26, 1991 This building topped out.
1995 In a Chicago Tribune poll, this building was ranked seventh on a list of Chicago's top ten buildings.
2006 This building was 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 out of this building.

Narrative

This building 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.