Chicago Architecture Info

311 South Wacker Drive

Photographs

Facts

Also Known As
  • The Wedding Ring Building
  • The White Castle Building
Address 311 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606
Neighborhood The Loop
Built 1988 - 1990
Developers
  • Lincoln Property Company
  • Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association
Architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Type
  • Office
  • Retail
  • Skyscraper
Floors
  • Above grade: 65
  • Below grade: 3
Height 961 feet
Net site area 129,500 square feet
Floor area ratio 32.44
Floor space 1,300,000 square feet
Cost $110,000,000
Minimum number of loading docks 12
Minimum number of parking spaces 650

Notes

  • This was formerly the location of an old warehouse that was converted into office lofts.
  • At the time of its completion, this was the fourth-tallest building in Chicago, and the 11th-tallest in the world.
  • According to a 1996 Chicago Tribune article, the floors inside the large illuminated barrel at the top are vacant, except for the 69th floor where there is a basketball hoop that the building's maintenance crews use to blow off steam.
  • 1,852 fluorescent tubes are used to light the top of the building at night. These lights are turned off at midnight to be less annoying to the neighbors, and are turned off even earlier when birds migrate.
  • This building was intended to have a twin 65-story tower next to it that was never built.
  • There is a sky lobby on the 46th floor.
  • A city ordinance requires public access to the outdoor plaza for a minimum of 14 hours a day on weekdays. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays the public is required to have “reasonably controlled access” to the space.
  • While this building is 961 feet tall, it is legally allowed to be up to 1,000 feet tall.
  • An abandoned east-west streetcar tunnel lies underneath this site. When this building was built, a maintenance accessway to the tunnel had to be relocated. The tunnel was preserved so that some day an underground pedestrian walkway system could be built, extending under the Chicago River. According to the ordinance which permitted this building, “The applicant, its successors and assigns shall cooperate with all affected property owners to secure funding for construction of such a pedway system.” But the pedway system was never built.
  • At the time of its completion, this was the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world.

Quotations

Overdone to the point of boorishness
Paul Gapp, The Chicago Tribune September 29, 1996

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