Pinstripes Prevail on Lakeshore East Skyscrapers
Mar10

Pinstripes Prevail on Lakeshore East Skyscrapers

We’re happy to admit when we’re wrong. Or as our seventh-grade teacher used to say, “You pulled a boner.” She must have really been something in the 1940’s. Earlier this week we stated that pinstripes are out of fashion, both in clothing and in Loop skyscrapers. Today, we get around to reading the Sunday New York Times, and in its smudgy pages are full-page ads for both Armani and Ralph Lauren pinstripe...

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New Chicago Skyscrapers Look Good in Pinstripes
Mar08

New Chicago Skyscrapers Look Good in Pinstripes

There was a time when people got dressed up to go into The Loop.  But ever since it somehow became OK to wear sweatpants in The Walnut Room, the only place you’ll see a fedora is on a Metra train headed to the north suburbs. Cirrus and Cascade under construction in March, 2021. (Courtesy of Loop Spy C.) That’s why it’s so delightful to see Cirrus and Cascade, the newest skyscrapers going up at Lakeshore East,...

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What’s Underneath Chicago’s Urban Parks? Disappointment, If You’re a Worm
Jan17

What’s Underneath Chicago’s Urban Parks? Disappointment, If You’re a Worm

It’s always fun to listen in to tourists at Millennium Park ooh-ing and aah-ing at the amazing job the City of Chicago has done preserving such a large slice of nature in the heart of the city. The vast majority of them don’t know that underneath the wild-looking flowerbeds, the stately lawns, and the carefully channeled rivulet is a vast parking garage, and a commuter train station. But that’s OK. They came to...

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Two New Loop Skyscrapers Top Off
Jan14

Two New Loop Skyscrapers Top Off

While the bulk of the architectural press in Chicago has been focused on the St. Regis Chicago tower, just a block away two other skyscrapers have been quietly growing in its shadow. Well, “quietly,” unless you live in Lakeshore East, which has been under constant development since we started publishing way back in 2003. But such are the perils of urban living. January, 2021 rendering of Cirrus (Courtesy of Lendlease)...

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O, No! Last Lakeshore East Skyscraper Downsized Again
Jan11

O, No! Last Lakeshore East Skyscraper Downsized Again

The plan for the last skyscraper in Lakeshore East in The Loop has been revised again. Building O will occupy the cleft between Aqua and 300 East Randolph. Eventually. We’ve been waiting for Building O for some time now. Even moreso after an Aqua leasing agent swore up and down that no building would ever be built in that space, blocking anyone’s views. Ever. Prominse. Pinky swear. Days later, the first plan for Building O...

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Bowing Down Before Saint Regis in The Loop
Jan03

Bowing Down Before Saint Regis in The Loop

Remember back at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all going to use our quarantine time to learn a new language, read Somerset Maugham, and write The Great American Novel? Somehow none of that happened. Like a Big Gulp cup on the side of the Edens, all those aspirations somehow escaped our grasps. Just like the New Year’s resolutions we made 75 days earlier to be nicer to Larry in accounting, call our mothers more...

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With Vista in the Rear Mirror, Focus Shifts to Cirrus and Cascade
Dec08

With Vista in the Rear Mirror, Focus Shifts to Cirrus and Cascade

We’ve been watching Lakeshore East evolve since before construction started, and this is the first time that it’s had three skyscrapers under construction at the same time:  St. Regis, Cirrus, and Cascade. Cascade under construction (Courtesy of YoChicago!) Lots has already been written about the St. Regis Tower, formerly the Vista Tower, formerly the Wanda Vista Tower, (formerly the Dailan Wanda Vista Tower), so...

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Four Minutes of GEMS: Chicago’s Urban Vertical School
Nov09

Four Minutes of GEMS: Chicago’s Urban Vertical School

It’s been a few years since GEMS World Academy opened its Lower School in Lakeshore East.  The bKL-designed building won a bunch of awards, and did a great job of filling in a difficult space with something that looks like it belongs. What an awesome school facade looks like. Recently, bKL put out a promotional video showing off its work.  Even if you’re familiar with this project, it’s worth seeing it again...

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Downtown Chicago Fertile Ground for Mechanical Beanstalks
Oct26

Downtown Chicago Fertile Ground for Mechanical Beanstalks

If you’re going to get jumped in downtown Chicago, try to be a crane. Cirrus and Cascade under construction (Courtesy of YoChicago!) Crane jumps are scheduled for this week at Lakeshore East.  Lendlease is increasing the height of the tower cranes building the Cirrus and Cascade residential towers on the southwest corner of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The window for the big yellow beasts to become super-sized opened on...

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Jim Lowenberg 1934-2020
Oct19

Jim Lowenberg 1934-2020

The man who turned a grotty corner of The Loop into an architectural showcase and ushered in an age of downtown Chicago mega-developments has died. Jim Lowenberg was 86 years old. Lowenberg went into the family business after earning a degree in architecture from M.I.T. Building on a successful career designing skyscrapers around downtown Chicago, he helped found Magellan Development in 1996. That enabled him to create his crowning...

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