a city known for its grittiness, it's rare to find a building so purely
elegant. This Spanish Revival masterpiece, covered in exquisite terra cotta,
was the first large office building built north of the Chicago River. It
was built from 1920 to 1922 by William Wrigley Jr. (or people he hired,
anyway) as the headquarters for the chewing gum company he founded. As
Blair Kamin writes (see below), the Wrigley helps complete one of the classiest
architectural junctures of the city (along with the Tribune Tower, London
Guarantee Building, and 333 North Michigan--the four corners around the
intersection of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River). At night the Wrigley's
cotton-white facade is illuminated by a bank of lights across the river,
which is a tremendous waste of electricity but creates a memorable effect.
relates that the building (which is actually two buildings joined by
skybridges; see third picture at left) was featured in the 1957 horror
film Beginning of the End, in which it was attacked by giant grasshoppers.
What is remarkable
is the way these four buildings [the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, London
Guarantee Building, and 333 North Michigan], all designed by different
architects over the course of a decade, are perfectly attuned to one another,
at once formidable individual presences and part of a coherent urban ensemble.
Together, their walls frame an outdoor space that is comparable to a room.
And what a room it is--an expanse of water and sky that cracks open the
tightly defined corridors of office buildings that mark the approaches
to the bridge.
Architecture Matters: Lessons From Chicago
facts and pictures from Skyscrapers.com
and history from Wrigley.com
by Dawn Mikulich