Wrigley Building
400 N. Michigan Ave.

Wrigley Building


2002-2003 NB

In 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. Skycrapers.com 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. -NB

Blair Kamin:
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.
-from Why Architecture Matters: Lessons From Chicago

-More facts and pictures from Skyscrapers.com
-Pictures and history from Wrigley.com
-More from AViewOnCities.com
-Picture by Dawn Mikulich


© Copyright 2001-2003
Nathan L.K. Bierma