Construction Update
SCB’s Chamfers on Michigan Ready to Tuck In

One of the more interesting skyscraper designs proposed for the South Loop in recent years is about to become reality. The City of Chicago has issued the first construction permits for 1326 South Michigan.

Rendering of 1326 South Michigan (Courtesy of SCB)

Rendering of 1326 South Michigan (Courtesy of SCB)

You’ll remember this is the Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed tower that combines a setback near the top of the western half with vertical chamfers to create the illusion of two adjacent towers. Interesting angles on the podium facade help lessen the impact of yet another parking podium on the streetscape.

However, exactly what the parking podium will look like is a little unclear at this time.  The renderings most recently supplied to us by SCB show a number of small angled panels arranged in vertical lines.  The current images on the CIM Group web site show larger, horizontally-arranged panels.  The lobby entrance is also much larger and lighter, and the chamfers go all the way to the ground.

Two versions of the base of 1326 South Michigan

Two versions of the base of 1326 South Michigan

We’ve sent out e-mail messages asking for clarification and will update you when we get a response.

In December of 2015 we gave you some insight into the design created for CIM and Murphy Development, especially its lack of balconies. SCB chairman John Lahey told us:

People are getting less attached to balconies. For what I do, that’s a big deal. Because they’re really not that good, and people don’t use them, and they’re expensive, and they kind of look junky. We can integrate them in and make them look good, but fewer is probably better. You look at a building like [1326] and it doesn’t have any balconies. But it has lots of green space on the [amenities deck] like 500 Lake Shore, and it has a real “garden in the sky” feel.

[The South Loop] is a different context [than Streeterville], so yes, you do things a little differently. Now, could we have done a building just like 1326 in Streeterville? Yes. But you’re conscious of the context. In Streeterville there’s some park space between buildings, and you’re looking at the balance of glass and masonry. You’re trying to fit it in with what’s there. And you’re doing the same thing here, but the context is a little different. Here [in the South Loop] you’ve got a lot of blocky, heavy buildings. And even the glassy buildings don’t have much serendipity; they’re very rational. So, that’s why we did the thing with cutting the corners. Something that was a little more artful and less hard-edged…

This one was a slab building and it really wanted to be a relatively simple building. It was pretty tall, so we divided it into two slabs, and we were thinking, “What can we do?” We tried a number of different things.

We’re delighted, because we were thinking this would be too tall, but then the one in front of it [113 East Roosevelt] turned out to be 900 feet, and that was great.

Location: 1326 South Michigan, South 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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