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Chicago – Near North Side: Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower
Chicago Near North Side
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The Wrigley Building (left), at 400-410 North Michigan Ave, was built from 1920-1924 to serve as the corporate headquarters for the Wrigley Company. Chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. commissioned the architectural firm Graham, Anderson Probst and White and chief designer Charles G. Beersman to design the first office building north of the Chicago River. The Wrigley Building was Chicago’s first air-conditioned office building. The circular temple and cupola rising above the 30-story, 425-foot south tower’s massive two-story four-faced clock is patterned after the Seville Cathedral’s Giralda Tower in Spain. The north and south towers are connected by three pedestrian walkways. The building is clad in approximately 250,000 individual glazed terra cotta tiles, the most extensive use of terra cotta in the world at the time. Six shades of white enamel, from gray to cream, were baked onto the cladding for easy cleaning. Each tile is uniquely cataloged in a computer to track maintenance. At night, the building is illuminated with floodlights, making it about to shimmer.

The Tribune Tower (right), at 435 North Michigan Avenue, was built between 1923-1925 as the headquarters for the Chicago Tribune. The neo-Gothic design, the last important example of American Perpendicular style, by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood was selected out of 263 entrants in a much publicized international design competition. The 34-floor, 463-foot skyscraper’s upper tower, encircled by 8 flying buttresses adorned with sculptures of bats, was modeled after the Butter Tower at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen. A low-rise addition to the north was built in 1935, forming a small courtyard with a statue of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale. The Tribune Tower features sculptural ornamentation executed by Rene Paul Chambellan. The building’s ornate three story arched entrance is carved with figures from Aesop’s fables. Rocks and bricks brought back by Tribune correspondents from important sites throughout the world are incorporated into the lowest levels of the building, and labeled with their location of origin. In all, there are 136 fragments in the building.

The Michigan-Wacker Historic District, crossing the Michigan Avenue Bridge and the Wabash Bridge over the Chicago River, covering parts of the Chicago Loop and Near North Side neighborhoods. The district’s contributing properties include eleven high rise and skyscraper buildings erected in the 1920s with addresses on North Michigan Avenue, East Wacker Drive, North Wabash Avenue and East South Water Street, including 333 North Michigan, London Guarantee Building, Carbide & Carbon Building, 35 East Wacker, Mather Tower, the Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite, and the Wrigley Building.

The Tribune Tower was designated a landmark by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development on February 1, 1989.

In 2007, the Tribune Tower was ranked #38 on the AIA 150 America’s Favorite Architecture list.

Michigan-Wacker Historic District National Register #78001124 (1978)