The Wrigley Building

400-410 N Michigan Ave Chicago

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>The Wrigley Building's original Headquarters of William Wrigley's famous chewing gum company.

> Architects Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White finished the South Tower in 1921 and the North tower in 1924.

>This was the first office building in Chicago to have air conditioning.

>The facade is made up of 250,000 white terra cotta tiles that need to be hand-washed regularly.

A Few Sources of Inspiration

The Wrigley Building designed by the firm Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White for chewing gum king William Wrigley, helped transform Northern Michigan Avenue and the Chicago skyline. It's categorized in the Renaissance Revival style which blends Gothic and Baroque elements. Renaissance Revival takes much inspiration from the Italian architects, but the tower for the Wrigley Building was modeled after La Giralda, a minaret tower now part of the Spanish Seville Cathedral. The terra cotta facade was in part influenced by William Wrigley's experience at the Colombian Exposition of 1893. He was blown away by the celestial white buildings, so the designers chose tiles that reflected light and gave the building an incandescent quality. The 250,000 tiles are glazed and all need to be hand washed to retain their quality. For most of its existence, the building has been fully illuminated by floodlights at night.

The Wrigley Building was constructed in parts. The South Tower was built first and was completed in 1921. The second tower was commissioned right after the first and finished in 1924. The two towers are connected by a bridge on the 3rd floor. The taller south tower has a clock with faces in each direction. The clock faces are just over 19 feet in diameter. When it first opened there was an observatory in the clock tower, and admission was 5 cents and included a piece of Wrigley chewing gum!

While the building itself is internationally famous, Wrigley himself never saw it as an homage to his wealth or ego. "People thought when I began to put this up [The Wrigley Building] that I would plaster my name all over it in letters big enough to be seen miles away," he said. "If you look when you go out you will find it in small letters over the front door – but you may have to look twice."

Though it was one of the first buildings to define the Magnificent Mile, it only received Chicago Landmark status in 2012.

Cover image source: Richard Bartlaga, CC BY-ND 2.0.

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