Eye Candy: New Renderings of the Willis Tower Renovation
Sep17

Eye Candy: New Renderings of the Willis Tower Renovation

EQ Office continues its half-billion dollar renovation of Chicago’s tallest building from a place exclusively for office workers and tourists into something more integrated with the evolving neighborhood. To that end, it is including  a new food court in Willis Tower’s new retail space, expected to open in 2020.   That Gensler-designed retail space is now called “Catalog,” an acknowledgement of Sears, the...

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A Chicago Architecture Mystery in America’s Loneliest Corner
Sep07

A Chicago Architecture Mystery in America’s Loneliest Corner

I spend a lot of time in the lesser-traveled corners of the nation.  Places where the roads are sand, the mines are lithium, and life is weird. In one of these places where internet service is even scarcer than water, and a plastic jug of gas is $20 a gallon (I shit you not), I found this relic of days past: Yes, that’s a pair of giant wrought iron… entrances.  And if you can read this, you’ve already read that the...

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New Name, New Home – The Chicago Architecture Center Opens Today
Aug31

New Name, New Home – The Chicago Architecture Center Opens Today

The organization that is the beating heart of Chicago’s architecture scene opens a new home today. The Chicago Architecture Center will open later this morning at 111 East Wacker Drive. It’s the new home for what used to be called the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  The Foundation has been a long-time resident of 224 South Michigan Avenue, the old Railway Exchange Building.  That building housed the organization’s...

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Revised Lakeshore East Plan is More Green and More of the Same [updated]
Aug29

Revised Lakeshore East Plan is More Green and More of the Same [updated]

The proposal to erect three new skyscrapers in the northeast corner of Lakeshore East took another step forward tonight. At the second public meeting about the project from Magellan Development and Lendlease, a revised plan received acknowledging nods, and not much else.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When the first iteration was voilàed last July, few credible people had anything bad to say about bKL...

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Swissôtel’s Awkward Protrusion to Get Bigger
Aug28

Swissôtel’s Awkward Protrusion to Get Bigger

Since Lakeshore East is in the news this week, here’s a little nugget of neighbor news: The Swissôtel at 323 East Wacker Drive is getting a small expansion. If you’ve ever walked by the hotel, you may have noticed the awkward outdoor seating area next to the slightly-less-awkward annex that houses The Palm restaurant. That outdoor seating area is going away, to be replaced by an annex to the annex to the hotel in order to...

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♫ Lakeshore East / It Has a Plan / I-J-K-L-O ♫
Aug27

♫ Lakeshore East / It Has a Plan / I-J-K-L-O ♫

Channel your inner four-year-old, and sing along. Lakeshore East, it has a plan I – J – K – L – O And to this plan, were drawn some NIMBYS I – J – K – L – O With a “view” “view” here And a “school” “school” there Here a critic, there a critic Everyone’s a civic cynic Lakeshore East, it has a plan I – J – K – L...

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110 North Wacker Ready to Go Vertical, Welcome Chicago Sparrows
Aug21

110 North Wacker Ready to Go Vertical, Welcome Chicago Sparrows

The Wacker Drive canyon is about to get a new cliff.  Gound-level foundation work is underway at 110 North Wacker, after weeks of demolition, clearing, and caisson work. Loop Spy Chris drilled a few recent pictures into our tip line showing work over the last few days.  You can see concrete being poured on the south end of the worksite, topping rebar from the caissons sticking out of the ground in nice, square trenches.  It’s a...

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Dopes on a Rope: Urban Explorers Climb Two Chicago Construction Cranes
Jul25

Dopes on a Rope: Urban Explorers Climb Two Chicago Construction Cranes

There’s something about being young that makes you believe that you’re indestructible.  I can’t be all that critical of the feeling, because when I was a youth, I ate so many Doritos my corpse will never decompose. At least I had the sense not to climb to the top of a 900-foot-tall construction crane.  That’s just stupid. But that’s just what a youthful “urban explorer” codenamed Ugly Steffy...

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Construction Update Two-Fer: Vista and Bennett
Jun01

Construction Update Two-Fer: Vista and Bennett

As Chicago’s skyline transforms itself once again, it’s easy to get a little crick in your neck looking up all the time.  So, instead it’s better to look out. As in this view looking out from NEMA Chicago, taken by Joe Zekas of YoChicago! last week.  It shows the progress of the Vista Tower in Lakeshore East in the foreground, with One Bennett Park in Streeterville in the background. Unlike most cities which have a...

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Aon Center is the Latest Skyscraper That Wants to Take You For a Ride
May15

Aon Center is the Latest Skyscraper That Wants to Take You For a Ride

If you want to “hang” at the Aon Center, 601W Companies is cool with that.  As long as you do it in its proposed 22-person glass pod hanging off the roof.  The New York real estate company has unveiled its $185 million proposal for turning a portion of Chicago’s third-tallest building into a tourist attraction. We’ve known since 601W bought the stoic skyscraper in 2015 for $173 million that it thought there was...

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