The city of Chicago is renowned for having one of the most expansive and diverse skylines in the world. Perhaps one of the ten or so most famous of these many towers is the Wrigley Building, which, with its gleaming white façade, sits right across the Chicago River from the Carbon and Carbide Building at the foot of the Trump Tower. At Shoreline Sightseeing, we make sure that the Wrigley Building is one of the first that we pass on our architecture cruises. That’s just how important it is.
The History of the Wrigley Building
Construction of the Wrigley Building began in 1920—it was one of the first major office buildings to be built along the Magnificent Mile. Located on a triangular piece of land at the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River, the space was chosen by William Wrigley Jr. to make an impression. He ordered the creation of a structure that could be seen from a distance and be easily recognizable. The Wrigley Building managed that, setting a striking scene as the largest, most brilliant structure in the area, and remains an anchor for the Michigan Avenue Business District to this day.
The Wrigley Building also holds the unique distinction of being Chicago’s first air conditioned building, which added to its early appeal and ensured that all offices were leased upon the completion of the South Tower in 1921.
The Wrigley Building’s Design
The Wrigley Building was designed by renowned architect Charles Beersman, the lead architect for the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. The design is a fusion of French Renaissance and Spanish Revival styles and was inspired by the Giralda Tower of Spain’s Seville Cathedral.
The Wrigley Building features two stunning towers: the North Tower, which stands 21 stories, and the South Tower, which stands 30 stories and sports a clock with faces that point in all directions. Travel and Leisure Magazine named the clock tower one of the world’s most beautiful, placing it in the ranks of Big Ben in London, England.
The entire building’s façade is made of glazed terra cotta, which must be hand washed periodically to maintain its gleaming appearance, highlighted nightly by floodlights that have shone (almost) continually since 1921.
Schedule Your Architectural Tour Today
While little can rival the Wrigley Building’s splendor, there’s much more architectural beauty along the Chicago River that Shoreline Sightseeing wants to show you on one of our guided architectural river tours, night architecture tours, or architecture fireworks tours. Schedule your tour today and see what everyone is talking about.