Neo-Gothic Tribune Tower Anchors The South End Of Mag Mile


The New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood pocketed a nice prize—$50,000—in 1922 for their design of the Chicago Tribune’s iconic building at 435 N. Michigan Avenue.

Today, the Tribune Tower is still the headquarters of the newspaper and its parent Tribune Media. It was also a popular stop at the 2015 Open House Chicago event hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.


The building has a number of noteworthy design components. The lobby is cavernous, almost cathedral-like. That was intentional, and a reminder for the new staff that they take their responsibility seriously as a news organization.

Within the lobby, one of the most prominent elements you immediately notice is a giant relief map of the world. From a distance you may not even notice that it’s made out of shredded U.S. currency.


Along the lobby walls, you’ll also see the Wall Of Inscriptions, consisting of famous quotes about a free press. The exterior of the building is also unusual. Interspersed along the walls are various items from around the world. They originated with souvenirs collected by the newspaper’s publisher Colonel Robert R. McCormick during his travels.

Items are still added periodically, from the whimsical to the somber. A good example of the latter is a twisted piece of metal that came from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. It’s permanently ensconced along the Tribune Tower’s south exterior wall.

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at

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