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> 311 South Wacker Drive, a post-modern 65-story skyscraper, was completed in 1990.
> At 961 feet tall, it was once the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world until Two Prudential Plaza was completed that same year and surpassed it.
> As a nod to the architecture of Chicago’s past, the top was inspired by the neogothic design of the Tribune Tower. > There are many urban tales that the crown turret was inspired by the architects’ wife’s wedding ring or a wedding cake.
The signature design aspect of 311 South Wacker is the crown. The top of the building is a cylinder surrounded by four other smaller cylinders. When lit up at night, the crown makes 311 South Wacker Drive easy to distinguish in the skyline. The five cylinders on top are lit by 1,852 fluorescent tubes. The crown was inspired by Chicago's neo-gothic Tribune Tower.
In the race for height supremacy, 311 South Wacker is just short of the mark. It is the 7th-tallest building in Chicago and the 24th-tallest in the United States. It was once the tallest reinforced concrete structure in the world, but there too it has fallen just short. Two Prudential Plaza was completed that same year and surpassed it.
While its exterior surely catches the eye, it has a handful of unique interior qualities. The lobby is a "winter garden" that is divided into two floors. The garden features a fountain and a bronze sculpture by Raymond Kaskey entitled "Gem of the Lakes". The design for the fountain was inspired by Chicago's seal depicting the city symbolically as a caped hero. The image represents the great engineering feat of reversing the flower of the Chicago River.
Cover image source: Kimberly Vardeman, CC BY 2.0, no changes made.