311 South Wacker Drive


Skyscrapers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

311 South Wacker Drive in Chicago, USA, is a post-modern 65-story skyscraper completed in 1990. At 961 feet (293 m) tall, it is the sixth tallest building in Chicago and the fourteenth tallest in the United States. Once the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world from 1990-1992, it was surpassed by the Central Plaza in Hong Kong.

Referred to informally by some Chicagoans as "The White Castle Building", since the building's crown does resemble the rook found on signs for White Castle, the fast food chain. Other local nicknames include "The Wedding Cake Building" and "The Bart Simpson Building" both of which reference the lighted crown.

The lower level of the winter garden was designed to connect via underground passageway to Union Station. The building also contains three levels of underground parking. The building contains both retail and commercial tenants.

Design

Lobby

The lobby is an impressive two-level (one below ground) 85 foot (26 m) high glass ceilinged "winter garden" with glazed palm trees and a fountain. The garden was added in 2002. Raymond Kaskey's bronze sculpture "Gem of the Lakes" looks over the garden from the Wacker entrance. It depicts a large Neptunian figure drying himself over a seashell fountain.

Crown

On top of the building is a 105 ft (32 m) tall translucent cylinder, which is surrounded by 4 other, smaller cylinders. This makes it among the most visible Chicago skyscrapers at night, as its crown is brightly illuminated. The crown is by some accounts supposed to represent the engagement ring given by the architect to his wife. The five cylinders on top are lit at night by 1,852 fluorescent tubes, and lantern at the top changes colors for various holidays and special events.

Park

311 South Wacker is surrounded to the northwest by a grassy area, commonly used as a lounging and public lunch area during warm months, which is the largest area of green space in the Chicago Loop. This park is used to host local farmer markets, musical events, and various art and cultural festivals. To the southwest is a parking lot. This land was originally to be occupied by two more towers, identical in design to the first.

Information
Location Chicago, Illinois
Status Complete
Constructed 1988 - 1990
Use Office
Height
Roof 293 m (961 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 65
Companies

Architect

Developer

Kohn Pederson Fox Associates HKS

AT&T Co./Stein & Company