Crafting Your Experience

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The Chicago Architecture Foundation .

.10 Iconic Chicago Buildings

Chicago has long been a laboratory for architectural innovation and experimentation. Let Chicago Architecture Foundation lead you through the stories behind some of the city’s most significant skyscrapers. Come on an adventure to unlock the secrets of ten iconic Chicago Buildings.

  • 1.

    Chicago Board of Trade

    Chicago Board of Trade

    Holding court at the south end of LaSalle St., the Chicago Board of Trade Building presides over Chicago’s financial district. The regal 45-story skyscraper is the epitome of Art Deco styling.

  • 2.

    Harold Washington Library

    Harold Washington Library

    When it comes to Chicago’s iconic skyline, it isn’t always easy to make a mark and stand out from the crowd. But that isn’t something the Harold Washington Library has struggled to do.

  • 3.

    Monadnock Building

    Monadnock Building

    As you pass by the Monadnock Building in Chicago’s Loop, you may not recognize it as a transitional moment in architectural history. But in this building, the shift can be seen from load-bearing construction to skeleton frame construction.

  • 4.

    The Rookery

    The Rookery

    When completed, the Rookery was thought to be the largest and finest office building in the United States. Located at the corner of LaSalle and Adams, the Rookery is one of Chicago’s most elegant buildings and a star of the LaSalle Street financial corridor.

  • 5.

    Thompson Center

    Thompson Center

    When you first encounter the Thompson Center, you might wonder if a UFO has landed in the middle of the Loop. The Helmut Jahn-designed center of state government is unabashedly Postmodern, with colorful details and a shape that references the dome of the state's capitol.

  • 6.

    Marquette Building

    Marquette Building

    It’s easy to focus solely on the Marquette Building's rich terra cotta ornamentation, decorative bronze reliefs and sparkling Tiffany mosaics. But if you do, you miss a much more fascinating story. She is so much more than just a pretty face.

  • 7.

    Willis Tower

    Willis Tower

    For nearly 25 years after its completion, the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, held the title of tallest building in the world. The Willis Tower laid the foundation for the supertall buildings being built today.

  • 8.

    Marina City

    Marina City

    Marina City was an urban experiment designed with the intent of drawing middle-class Chicagoans back to the city after more than a decade of suburban migration - a city within a city.

  • 9.

    Tribune Tower

    Tribune Tower

    In 1922, the Chicago Tribune announced an international competition. Two hundred and sixty-three entries, 23 countries and a place in history as one of the largest, and most important architectural competitions in America - this is the legacy of the Tribune Tower.

  • 10.

    Inland Steel Building

    Inland Steel Building

    Don’t let the Inland Steel Building fool you. It’s an architectural giant disguised as a modest office building. Architects and architecture buffs have admired the sophisticated, Mid-Century Modern design of this Chicago classic for generations.

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