100 N. LaSalle Street

From HistoryWiki

100 N. LaSalle Street

Official name: Lawyers Building

26 floors

6,208 sq. ft. typical floor size

157,000 sq. ft.

Built in 1927 Renovated in 1984, 1997, 2013

1985-1986: The building received a $17 million renovation, uncovering a black granite arch on the LaSalle Street side. This was covered up by a previous renovation in the 1950s.

For a building constructed in the Art Deco age, it could very easily be mistaken for a mid-1990s knockoff if the color was a little different. 100 N. LaSalle Street is one of those buildings that "just gets it done" in the Loop. It doesn't try to draw attention to itself. It just sits there on the corner with its stately dignity serving its purpose.

That's not to say that there aren't any notable architectural elements. Certainly its vertical channels and central pediment are worth a look. But this building is ahead of its time. Not Art Deco, and beyond Art Moderne. It looks forward to the 1940s, and the then-new reality of utilitarian office buildings. It's a style often overlooked as most construction drew to a halt because of the World War II, and because styles changed so quickly following the war and the advent of glass and steel skyscrapers. Maybe this building should be regarded as what "could have been." If there hadn't been a war; if there hadn't been a materials shortage; if there hadn't been a global shift in priorities, then maybe America would be populated with more of these sorts of buildings and they would be recognized as a brand of their own.


Klafter, David Saul (AIA)