The Wrigley Building and Marina Towers

Historic American Engineering Record, Creator, Chicago Department Of Transportation, Alexander Von Babo, Charles Scott, Frances Alexander, John Nicolay, and Carolyn Brucken, Lowe, Jet, photographer. Chicago River Bascule Bridge, Michigan Avenue, Spanning Chicago River at North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, IL. Cook County Illinois Chicago, 1968. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph.

“The Wrigley Building is so recognizable, it hardly needs an introduction,” states the introduction of the Chicago Architecture Center’s page on one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the United States, if not the world. I looked at it one time briefly before in June of 2008.

The product of the building of the Michigan Avenue bridge, opening up River North to more commercial development, it was commissioned by William Wrigley, who of course was the chewing gum magnate.

The tower is perhaps one of the most iconic parts of the building complex designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White in 1921, and is based off the Giralda in Seville, Spain, which interesting enough was originally constructed as a minaret for a mosque.

There is of course a second building linked by a very cool aluminum-clad bridge sitting on this very awkwardly shaped but prominent site along the north bank of the Chicago River.

The terracotta is elaborate at street level.

Perhaps what is most interesting about the building is how it creates so many different shapes and perspectives from different angles.

Note the similarity to the Wainwright Building in St. Louis in how the spandrels’ decorative motifs change between each floor.

There are beautiful flowers in planters around the building.

A great counterpoint to the Wrigley Building is Marina City, or sometimes referred to as the Marina Towers or the Corncobs, designed by Bertrand Goldberg and opened in 1964 and 1968.

While the condos themselves and the parking garage (site of a famous scene from the The Hunter) are perhaps the most famous and visible parts of the complex, it is also a classic example of the Modernist “city within a city,” with shops and restaurants, along with other amenities at the base. I think there are even boat docks along the Chicago River. I looked at them briefly back in December of 2013.

Goldberg also designed some of the infamous housing projects in Chicago, which look like they should be living quarters for the Mars colony.

But nonetheless, Marina City is an iconic Chicago landmark, and the individual units sell for steep prices, affording views up and down the river and out over Lake Michigan and the city.

Our own fair region of St. Louis made its own attempt to copy the Marina Towers with our Lewis and Clark Tower, which is not commanding high prices, and is bombed out and abandoned, and in fact was never completed.

I can’t think of anything more annoying than having to park on the upper floor of this parking garage and leaving for work every day. I assume the plan was that residents would commute by mass transit or walk to work and shopping, etc.

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