The 5 Most Iconic Buildings in Chicago

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Chicago is often called ‘A City of Firsts’ and nowhere is this more apparent than in the city’s architecture.  The city was home to the first ever skyscraper, completed in 1885, and has since gone on to host numerous architectural wonders.  These feats are even more impressive when you consider how hot Chicago gets during the summer months.  Not only does design play a huge part in the aesthetic, but so does engineering, as this post by HVAC engineers in Chicago shows.  Want to know what are generally considered to be the five most iconic buildings in the city?  Keep reading!R

1. The Rookery Building

Built in 1888, the Rookery Building is a designated Chicago Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It’s located in the city’s financial district and was constructed during a transitional period using a skeletal frame and load-bearing masonry.  Between 1905 and 1907, the lobby of the building was redesigned by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Those visiting will be able to clearly see the Prairie style that his designs are well known for.

2. The Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center was built in 1897 and can be found on Washington Street, across the road from the Millennium Park.  When it opened, it was designed as the headquarters for the Grand Army of the Republic, and as the first permanent home of the Chicago Public Library.  It was re-designated in 1991 as the Chicago Cultural Center and now plays host to many exhibitions and concerts; all of which are free to attend.

3. The Wrigley Building

The Wrigley Building can be found on Michigan Avenue and was built in 1924.  It’s an impressive building, designed in a French Renaissance style.  The building consists of two towers which are connected by walkways, and the exterior was clad in glazed terracotta which makes it look like it is shining, both during the daytime, and at night when the floodlights are on.  Sitting on the banks of the Chicago Riverwalk, it’s in a beautiful location and well worth a visit on your next trip to the city.

4. The Tribune Tower

While visiting the Wrigley Building, it’s worth walking a little further and visiting the Tribune Tower as well.  Located across the street, the building was constructed in 1922 for the newspaper’s 75th anniversary.  The Tribune asked readers to send in their ideas for a distinctive and beautiful office building.  The winning idea was created by Howells & Hood, a New York-based design firm, and it is their Gothic Style building that still stands proudly in the city today.

5. theMART

Finally, we have theMART.  One of the newest buildings on this list, theMART was constructed in 1930 and was designed to be a kind of central marketplace where people could buy all of their goods under one roof.  The building encompasses two blocks, and is 25 stories high, and is now part office block, part department store, and part warehouse.  In 2018, digital art was projected onto the front of the building, making it the largest projection of digital art in the world.

Next time you visit Chicago, take the time to admire the architecture – it’s seriously impressive!