Neo-Egyptian Reliefs Abound At Inter-Continental Chicago Hotel


Earlier this week, Chicago Architecture visited the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, one of the 200 locations featured during the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 2015 Open House Chicago. Today, we venture up North Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile to look at a building with very colorful components.

The Inter-Continental Chicago Hotel at 505 North Michigan was built in 1929, then known as the Medina Athletic Club. The structure was designed by Walter W. Ahlschlager.


On the exterior, you’ll find Neo-Egyptian low reliefs designed by George Unger. They are carved into three sides of the façade, depicting masons on the south, builders on the north and architects presenting a model of the building to the pharaoh on the west.

Inside the hotel, the lobby and mezzanine use muted lighting, with orange and brown hues to impart a romantic feeling. The most impressive use of lighting and color can be found in the King Arthur Court and the Camelot Room.

And, if you want a meal fit for a king, just head down to the lobby where you’ll find a restaurant bearing the name of Chicago basketball royalty: Michael Jordan.

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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