Chicago Architecture Info

333 Wacker

Photographs

Facts

Address 333 West Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606
Neighborhood The Loop
Built 1979 - 1983
Developer Gerald D. Hines Interests
Architecture firms
  • Architecture firm of record: Perkins and Will
  • Design architecture firm: Kohn Pedersen Fox
Architect William Pedersen
Type
  • Office
  • Skyscraper
Height 487 feet
Length 301 feet
Floors
    • Above grade: 36
    • Below grade: 2
Floor space 1,039,987 square feet
Cost $100,000,000

Notes

  • The base of the building is Vermont marble and granite.
  • Because of this buildingʼs position on Chicagoʼs street grid, it could have the address 333 West Wacker Drive, or 333 North Wacker Drive. The building owners choose to call it simply "333 Wacker," though that address is invalid because it lacks a direction. The City of Chicagoʼs G.I.S. system lists it as 333 West Wacker Drive.
  • This building was featured in the film Ferris Beulerʼs Day Off as the location of Ferrisʼ fatherʼs office.

Timeline

1995 This building was voted Favorite Building by the readers of the Chicago Tribune.
1997 The building was sold for an estimated $100,000,000.
August, 2004 This building was bought by Kam Am for $252,000,000.
September, 2010 This building was named #27 on Chicago Magazineʼs list of the Top 40 Buildings in Chicago.

Narrative

Itʼs not the tallest. Itʼs not the most expensive. But 333 West Wacker is still one of the superstars of the Chicago skyline. The main feature of this office tower is the great blue-green curve of glass that it presents to the northwest, where the Chicago Riverʼs main and north branches combine to form the southern branch.

The building is more than just a sweeping arc of glass. While the northwest face is free to do what it wants with light and space, the rear has to adhere to the cityʼs street grid, and does so with a parallelogram marked by notches that create coveted corner offices. Toward the top, the two shapes are reconciled when a dozen or so of the arcing floors end short of the edge of the building, letting the flat plane behind show through as a pair of vertical channels.

The base of this building is also worth noting. Done in traditional stone, it forms an elongated X across the front of the building. The void at the bottom of the stepped shape is the main entrance. This adds to the illusion that the main body of the building — the green glass curve — is hovering above the city, represented by the hard stone forms below. This is heightened by the fact that part of the building actually does overhang the sidewalk at two of the edges, where 333 West Wackerʼs support columns are visible.

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