Are You Ready To Soft Rock? 1212 North State Plan Is Aggressively Understated

If you were worried that the new building planned for the corner of State and Division was going to be some kind of flashy attention-getter, or perhaps interesting in any way at all, fret not.  The needle on the mediocrity meter is not going to move on this one.

December 2019 rendering of 1212 North State (via Newcastle)
December 2019 rendering of 1212 North State (via Newcastle)

A new plan has been unveiled for what is being called 1212 North State. To be sure, the building that currently squats on this plot isn’t exactly the life of the party.  It is three stories of plain that are so tedious, even the bank that was in the ground floor of this pot of porridge died of boredom.

Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins has given a thumb’s up to the latest revision of the developer’s plan to replace the current snooze-fest commercial building with a residential block of 91 homes and 32 parking spaces.

At 134 feet, it’s not tall, nor short; it’s somewhere in the middle.  Its 12 stories make it too small to be a skyscraper and too big to be a low-rise, so once again it’s kind of in the middle.

Modesty is the policy here, so visually we’re in for a taupe limestone and generic maroon brick-looking facade.  The balconies are recessed so as not to assert themselves into the city.  Since it’s on the corner, it could have had the address 1200 North State, but that’s too much like bragging.  1212 is close enough.  You won’t notice any cars from the building on the street because — by law — people who live there won’t be allowed to park in public, to reduce their impact on the neighborhood.  The law also requires the building to prohibit music from being played outside.  Even the dog run on the third floor amenity deck will have sound dampening to be less noticeable. 

So if your favorite color is beige, you’re in the Witness Protection Program, or perhaps Belgian in heritage, this may be just the Chicago building for you.

Location: 1212 North State Parkway, Gold Coast

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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