Construction Update
The Way They’re Building the New CNA Center Makes You Want to Cover Your Eyes

151 North Franklin under construction (Courtesy of Loop Spy Chris)

We don’t know who you are, but do NOT look up! Just keep walking and everything will be fine.

Every once in a while life will throw you a curve ball.  You’ll see something that disturbs your mental sense of order.  Something that is perfectly logical and appropriate, but still makes you uncomfortable on a subconscious level.  Like when you run into your elementary school teacher at the movie theater.  Or when you see an enormous ship carrying another enormous ship.

An enormous ship carrying another enormous ship.

An enormous ship carrying another enormous ship.

That’s what’s happening over at 151 North Franklin Street in The Loop where the future CNA Center is going up.  And it’s not just us.  Loop Spy Chris was so disturbed that he stuffed our tip line with photos of the phenomenon: A Manitowoc MR 608 crane that looks like it’s floating above the sidewalk.  He describes it as, “Really great. And unsettling.”

Technically, it’s not above the sidewalk.  It’s on the very edge of the construction site, cantilevered mere inches from the top of the chain-link fence.

We know that there are rules about this — both municipal and rules of physics — which make this perfectly acceptable.  And we know that downtown construction sometimes requires extraordinary feats of engineering to complete.  And we know that somewhere, some Lend Lease foreman and maybe a city, state, or federal inspector or two has signed off on it.  But like watching a dog walking on its hind legs — It’s just not right.

For more disturbing visuals, see Loop Spy Chris’ photos below.




Location: 151 North Franklin Street, The Loop

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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