amongst tall and mighty

Very few of my friends and people that I know has been to Chicago and when I talk about Chicago many ask why I love it so much – because I don’t have too look down to check where I put my feet when I’m walking the city, the city is so clean  – I can keep my eyes up into the  sky and always see something new. Been totally 3 times in Chicago and already planing to go back again. 3 times has have I seen most of Chicago’s high raises – but I always see something new when I look at them again. There they stand old, new … rebuilt and nearly built side by side – so tall and mighty and I will never get tired of watching them. Have been in New York so many times – I would say at least 12 times – but I haven’t been back since I met Chicago. If I knew what Chicago have to offer I would have gone to NYC maybe 4 times and 8 times more to Chicago. Chicago is so much more then skyscrapers and architecture, but I will come back to that in a couple of more posts. Let me introduce you to my favorite tall and mighty – it has taken a bit of research for me to find the names and details, but got there in the end … it was been a great journey and here we are … Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce the high and mighty of Chicago, seen by my eyes and through my camera. IMG_3586Marina City, is 2 circular towers just by the Chicago River and between Bataan Corregidor Memorial bridge and Dearborn Bridge on the north side of the River – next door neighbor to House of Blues. What I understand are the recidents  not allowed to park their cars by themselves, because of the difficulties with the round buildings. Finished in 1967 and 587ft/179mtr high.

These towers are widely recognized around the world and have been featured in many different forms of media throughout the years.  There is an open-air roof deck on the 61st and top floors of the buildings. These buildings were commissioned by the International Union of Janitors. CNA Center, the red building, was finished in 1973 and reached 600ft/183mtr and the blue building is the Roosevelt University Dormitory, finished in 2012 and 469ft/143mtr. There is a story about that people who runs the CAN Center. During a 2004 renovation of the lobby the entrances were hard to find for pedestrians. So the entrances were clearly marked with “Enter Here” while other portions of the black plywood wall were marked with a yellow dashed outline of a person and the legend “Don’t enter here. You’ll get splinters.

”The red building stands out among the others – the only one in downtown Chicago. ‘Of the Roosevelt University Dormitory the top 17floors of the building is an upscale residence hall for more than 600 Roosevelt University students. There are 295 private rooms, 320 beds in double occupancy rooms and 18 rooms for resident assistants and 22 floors have stunning views over Lake Michigan. The impressive 32-story academic building, which is the second tallest university building in the country and the sixth tallest in the world.

A unique vertical campus, it has classrooms, laboratories, offices, dorm rooms, a dining hall, fitness facilities and student services all under one roof. Roosevelt did not just construct a building; it created a great university experience and it’s blue its really stands out opposite the CAN Center. This one of my favorite photos, the Chicago Temple Building in front of the Three First National Plaza. The Chicago Temple Building is the home of the First United Methodist Temple and was built in 1924 and then was the tallest building I Chicago with it 561ft/173mtr – and the Three First National Plaza with its 753ft/229.5mtr was ready in 1981. The sky chapel was a gift to the congregation from the Walgreen family of Walgreen’s drug stores and the altar in the sky chapel depicts Jesus looking over the skyline of Chicago.

The Three Frist National Plaza was intentionally built shorter than the neighboring JPMorgan Chase Tower to preserve the views from the boardrooms at the top of that building. At the time this building was erected, they were both part of the First National Bank – it also have nine-story atrium contains “Large Internal-External Upright Form,” a beautiful sculpture by Henry Moore. The Wrigley Building, the most famous of all in Chicago, just by the Du Sable bridge and opisite the Union Square. Finished in 1924 and comes to 450ft/137mtr in terra cotta tiles are custom made in England and glazed for easy cleaning, which was very important in the early decades of this building, as Chicago was much dirtier then than it is now and each is tracked by computer to determine when it needs maintenance. It’s clock faces are 19 feet, seven inches wide. The design of the Wrigley Building was inspired by the Giralda Tower in Spain.chicago tribune 2chicago tribune 1 The Tribune Tower – The base of the Tribune Tower contains 120 stones from important locations all around the world, including the Parthenon, the pyramids in Egypt, Berlin Wall, the Taj Mahal , the Alamo, The Palace of Westminster, Trondheim Cathedral, the Great Wall of China, Notre-Dame and Injun Joe Cave in Missouri – in 2007 stones from the Sydney Opera House were added to its facade. Finished in 1925 and is 463ft/141mtr.Inspired by the Button Tower of the cathedral at Rouen, France. This neo-Gothic building is the home of Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio (720 kHz) broadcast from the building too. The Trump International Hotel & Tower – construction started on in 2005 and it took 4 years to finish and to a cost of $847,000,000. What I understand it wanted to claim it’s the highest building in Chicago with its spire, but was turned down and Wallis tower still stand as the highest. It took nearly 6 months to get the spire finished – lifted by helicopters and cancelled time after time because of high winds.

According to the Chicago Tribune, there was built about 50 models of the building before getting the design they wanted. The residence of the Trump Tower has their own dog run. Of course it also holds a Donald Trump Hotel, 399 rooms and hotel uniforms were designed by Ivanka Trump. The restaurant has a Swarovski crystal chandelier and it was created with more than19,000 crystals. The Carbide Carbon Building is one of my favorite skyscrapers in Chicago – finished in 1929 stands 503ft/153mtr tall – and it claimed that this was the world’s first fully colored skyscraper. Hubert Burnham is the man behind the architecture. It’s also called the ”Champagne Building” and the story tells that the owners and Mr Burnham had a dinner meeting and the owners had asked of time about the design – and of course they was drinking champagne and Burnham just said it will look like a champagne bottle. The gold highlights of this building are actual gold. Imitation gold was considered, but rejected. The 24-karat gold leaf is 1/5000 of an inch thick. Today also home of Hard Rock Hotel with 333 rooms.

My absolute favorite skyscraper is the “Aqua” and that was next door neighbor to the Regency Hyatt Hotel and holds the 15 floors Radssion Blu Hotel since 2011. It was planned for the Fairmont Hotel to move in, but they built their own across the street. Radisson spent $125 million to develop their first hotel in USA. It’s the tallest building in USA that has been designed by a woman, Jeanne Gang.

Finished in 2010 and rise to 870ft/265mtr. This was the first building in Chicago to have public charging stations for electric cars. And for homeowners, not all units are equal. While some people may have a balcony up to 12 feet wide, others will be measuring theirs with a ruler rather than a yardstick. This building’s balconies have a total of seven miles of railings and because of the building’s rippling balconies, each floor plate is unique and each level’s concrete pour was different. This was one of the filming locations for the 2011 movie “Transformers 3”.

Have been daydreaming … I found my perfect home at the Aqua, 225 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601, USA – 17,756sqft. 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, big Southeast corner balcony, 2 parking spaces, 2 walk-in-closet and the whole apartment has lake or river view from all rooms – All this for only $1.2 million – I seldom dream small. John Hancock Center, finished in 1969 with it’s 1,506ft /459mtr = 100 stories. In the August 10, 2010 edition of the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling wrote that the John Hancock Center is so tall that the air at the top is six degrees cooler than the air at the sidewalk level. September, 2010: This building was named #1 on Chicago Magazine’s list of the Top 40 Buildings in Chicago. For decades the Signature Room, the restaurant at the top of the Hancock, would keep its wine in a wine cellar — literally.

Even though the restaurant is on the 95th floor, wine was kept in the basement and brought up as needed. All of the wine was moved upstairs around 2000 and in the restaurant President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle had their first date. The residential portion of the building has three elevator banks; one for freight, one for passengers and one for emergency evacuations. 333 West Wacker Dr. – It’s not the tallest, 487 ft/148 mtr – 1983.  It’s not the most expensive. But 333 West Wacker is still one of the superstars of the Chicago skyline with its curved green glass façade. One of the most popular all-glass skyscrapers in the world, the design made architects Kohn Pedersen Fox famous. A nine-panel mural, the largest painting ever by artist Jim Dine, was commissioned in 1985 by the Nuveen

Company for its headquarters on the 33rd floor and The base is serrated on the south and east sides; this created a major engineering problem since the columns couldn’t meet the edge of the building squarely. This building was awarded an Energy Star label in 2010 for its operating efficiency. NBC Tower is one of the best examples of postmodern architecture influenced by Art Deco architecture in its design. It serves as a landmark for Cityfront Center. Connected to the main tower is a four-story radio and television broadcasting facility where popular shows such as Judge Mathis and WSNS’s newscasts and WMAQ’s 10pm newscasts are currently taped. Formerly The Jerry Springer Show, The Steve Wilkos Show,  and WMAQ/WSCR radio productions taped here. WSNS is also located here. 627ft/191mtr finished in 1989.

While sitting on my favorite cafe in Chicago, Cyrano’s Cafe at the River walk, that always served me for lunch one of the best chicken salad, will come to that later, one afternoon I saw those 3 window cleaners in action on the NBC Tower.Aon Center with it’s 1,136ft/346mtr and on my photo with it’s head up in the clouds, a bit like myself. With no fancy bits it stood finished in 1973. When completed, it was the world’s tallest marble-clad building, being sheathed entirely with 43,000 slabs of Italian Carrara marble. The marble used was thinner than previously attempted in cladding a building; this quickly proved to be a mistake. On December 1973, during construction a 350 pound marble slab detached from the façade.  From 1990 to 1992 the building’s 43,000 marble cladding panels were replaced by two-inch-thick Mt. Airy granite panels at a cost of about $80 million, more than what the building cost to build. Until 2009 this was the tallest building in the United States ever to change its name.

It was originally called the Standard Oil Building (nicknamed “Big Stan”), and later the Amoco Building. Plaza is available to the public and an oasis on hot summer days – with it’s fountains, flowers and greenery that gives a pleasant shades to rest under. Had a couple of my breakfasts at the plaza’s cafe’s  wonderful area to spend a couple of hot hours. Shop to you drop at 900 North Michigan, well known as “Bloomingdale’s Building”. Topped with 4 ornamental lanterns, which change color for the Christmas season , completed in 1989 at 871ft/265mtr – The building combines 5 major uses:  a seven-story atrium shopping mall; a Four Seasons Hotel; office space in the tower’s lower section; condominiums on the higher floors; and one of the city’s largest parking garages and home of  Bloomingdale’s and Four Season Hotel. Offices originally occupied floors 8-28, but floors 21-28 were converted to condo units in 2007, leaving offices on floors 8-20.

The luxurious Four Seasons Hotel occupies the middle floors (32-46) of the tower. Floors 48-66 are part of the 132 East Delaware Residences, these 106 condominiums were part of the original building plan.This building claims to have Chicago’s largest private rooftop garden. Home to brands like Diesel, Club Monaco, Gucci, Michael Kors, Coach, Charles David, Christofle, Karen Miller, LK Bennett, L’Occitane, Kaehler Travelworks & UGG Australia. In total over 70 retails outlets.It cost $21.00 if you park less than 1 hour at their garage. Weese’s River Cottages built in 1980 not really any skyscrapers, but still belongs to the scenery of Chicago along the river. Harry Weese that designed the cottages is also the man behind skyscrapers and buildings like Swissôtel, Seventeenth Church of Christ, Time-Life Building and he was behind the renovation of The Field Museum in 1979. The River Cottages are cute and the six levels of the four townhouses stack atop each other like cabins on a hillside, with a external stair that winds like a corkscrew up to a steep, ladder like series of steps leading to a glass, coffin-shaped door at the back of a terrace. A birdhouse serves as a filial to the tall pole anchoring the stairway, the cottages look like they were built not on the riverbank, but of it. Willis Tower, more know as “Sears Tower” – and the only skyscraper I been up to the top at in Chicago. On this photo I manage to catch the beautiful Buckingham Fountain with Willis Tower, CNA Center and Roosevelt University Dormitoryin the background. Willis Tower is still the tallest building in US until the he 1776 foot/541mtr “One World Trade Center” is finished in 2013.

The building has it’s own zip code – 104  elevators, 14 double-decker elevators and the vbservatory elevators has a speed of 18.2 miles per hour. January 2007, the building was sold for $385,000,000 and the the Willis Insurance Group took over most office space in the building. In July  2009, based on new signage, this building became The Willis Tower and The Sears Skydeck was renamed Skydeck Chicago. 1,729ft/ 527mtr stood ready in 1974 – it had taken only 4 years to build it.

The building’s exterior is black anodized aluminum. The windows are tinted bronze and it has an average sway of six inches off center. When visiting – look out for he street sign at the corner of Jackson Street and Franklin Street declaring that corner Fazlur R. Khan Way in honor of this building’s structural engineer. Modernization of the building’s elevators and escalators to reduce energy consumption by 40%. The tower is essentially a series of nine tubes, bound together and he mechanical floors are extra trusses which act like belts wrapping around the building and helping counteract the forces of strong winds. This what just a small amount of all the fantastic buildings in Chicago and I hope you enjoy meeting them so much as I do every time I visit the city.

“There is nothing more poetic and terrible
than the skyscrapers’ battle with the heavens that cover them.”
Federico Garcia Lorca

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47 thoughts on “amongst tall and mighty

    • Colleen, thank you so much – Chicago is a very interesting city and beautiful too. Really want to go back … NOW!!!!!! Never been there in the winter, it supposed to be severe. Would love to give it a try anyhow.

  1. Chicago is such a great city. Meanwhile, you and your camera did a great job capturing of the city’s offerings. Love the Aqua building shots (which I don’t know). Well done!

    • Aqua, is my favorite … took so many photo of that building – and when I looked up through the camera I got all dizzy and it was difficult to take steady photos upwards. If I win that lottery will I go for that apartment I was looking at online. And I will sit on that massive corner balcony and watch my pension go by .. *smile – It a block behind Hyatt Hotel. The more I looked at it the more I saw. Wonderful skyscraper.-

  2. I love that you love my home, Viveka. No matter where I live, it’s still in my heart and will always be the place I call home. Your photos are awesome. Mine (on my blog) came out gray from the cloudy day. Native Chicagoans refuse to use the name Willis Tower for our beloved Sears Tower. We also aren’t happy about Marshall Fields (a staple Chicago land store) turning into Macy’s. I grew up in the suburbs, but when I was a little girl, I used to get all giddy about going downtown to see Buckingham Fountain. Your photo of it is stunning.

    • Yes, I saw that at Macy’s has moved into Marshall Fields – took a photo over the main entrance where their name sign was coming off. Looked very tacky – never been found of Macy’s. Been so many times in NYC and they have never provided a good service – nearly so you have to beg to pay. Terrible shop. Feel sorry for Sears Tower that it will lose its status next year when the new World Trade Center opens. For me it also Sears Tower – but I had to be correct in my post.
      There was nothing wrong with your photos what so ever. They were fantastic. I had the heat wave in my back when I took mine.

  3. Chicago is a beautiful city. You were on the right side of the city, but there is a dark, dangerous part of the city. Never stray from the side you visited and you will be fine.

    • I’m sure there is like at any place, the bigger city the more dark places – but I was all over town by foot and I never felt threaten, but it was during daytime. I have lived 10 years in Belfast … never had any problems. I love Chicago and I’m planning to go over again when I use up my 2nd prize tickets to NYC in September. I’m more than half way then and the tickets to NYC are free.

  4. Wonderful post, Viveka. I learned so much from it. Chicago is my favorite big city too. I’ve only been there twice – once when I was in high school for our senior class trip, and once a few years ago for a friends wedding. We fell in love with the city on the last trip.

    • Maralee, I think as a grown up you look at the city differently and still Chicago is a very kid’s friendly and teen originated city. So much free stuff for kids … one of the reasons I like Chicago too.

  5. After my last visit to Chicago I checked out a book from my library that dealt with the architecture of some the city’s famous buildings. Even though I love looking through the book, I could have waited for this post. Very interesting and great photos!! I am glad I live only a few hours away from this fantastic city. And I am with you about Chicago vs. New York…Love Chicago so much more than NYC.

    • Thanks again, if you never visit Chicago you have too … and with a camera in your hand you will never be without objects – they are absolute everywhere, more posts to come.

  6. Viveka, twice I have left comments on this post because, as you know, I love Chicago and this post. Have you seen them? Am I getting deleted? ; )

      • Complete weirdness. In my previous comment(s), I mentioned about getting a book from the library on Chicago’s architecture–which was very interesting–but then mentioned I could have just waited to read this post instead. : ) Maybe I dreamed that I left a comment.

      • Maybe you didn’t press .. replay – has happen to me – thank you so much for your kind words … as you know there so many more interesting building is Chicago – so a book will still be great to have. Working on a post about all the fountains and oasis in Chicago at the moment. Massive job to pick out photos and work with them, also have 2 restaurant reviews to do. Will get there.

    • Hi there, thanks for visiting …. now I’m envy !!! I want to live in Chicago too. If you click my tag Chicago will you get some more posts and more will come. Working on them just now.
      Hope to see you around again.

      Hug Chicago from me.

      • I’ll hug it long and tight Viveka! We’d love to have you if you ever want to move here. Chicago, heck most of the mid-west US, is a very welcoming city I’ve found.

      • Thanks a million, I want to move .. this morning, but needs a lot money and I can’t leave my mum – she are 90 now it’s only us two left. Will be back for visits !!! Soon I hope. So true it’s a very chatt-ful and friendly city.

  7. Wow, you really know where to snap shots with the camera. Your pictures are great, your comments are very descriptive and I am glad you like our city. Despite it’s 9 months of cold weather, Chicago is a warm city and the citizens are great people proud of the city and love for it, as well as for tourism and company. At last I can say that Chicago is a city with open doors to every one, tourist and residents.

    • I totally agree with you – I ended up in Chicago more of less by accident about 10 years ago … and if I had knew what Chicago was and offered I would have gone to Chicago instead all the times I gone to New York.
      Chicago is a very friendly town and full of art, parks and water. That Millennium Park is so fantastic – so much to see and do .. and listen to. Grant Park with it’s free music. .. wonderful.

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