Slice of Life: Can You See the Face Hidden in Aqua?

Do you see it?

Do you see it?

On a typically frigid December afternoon, I snapped this photograph of the celebrated Aqua tower (225 North Columbus Drive).  As I was taking the photo, a man said to me, “Do you see the face?”

My first instinct was to respond with my standard answer any time someone unexpectedly starts talking to me in Chicago, “I don’t carry cash.”  But instead I managed to mumble, “Whuuuh?”

He went on at length about how if you stand at the right angle and look at the right time of day, you can see a face in the southern facade of the building.

In spite of a good-natured round of pointing and gesturing, I couldn’t make it out.  But now, looking at this photo, if I lean back a little, and squint a little, I think I can just barely make out… George Washington.

Color me disappointed.  The anonymous stranger outside 340 on the Park swore it was a mermaid, in keeping with the Lakeshore East’s aquatic theme.  I don’t see a mermaid, but I guess George Washington is an OK consolation prize.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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