311 South Wacker Drive - view from bottom

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311 South Wacker Drive is the thirteenth tallest skyscrapers in the United States and sixth tallest in Chicago, Illinois. At the same time it is the 311 South Wacker Drive is the tallest concrete building in the United States.

It is located in Chicago’s downtown, on the crossroad of four streets: South Franklin Street, South Wacker Drive, West Jackson Boulevard and West Van Buren Street. Actually, it is the tallest building in the world without its own name, known only by the street name on which it is located.

However, 311 South Wacker Drive has many nicknames. It is referred to as “The White Castle Building”, “The Wedding Cake Building”, or “The Bart Simpson Building”.

311 South Wacker Drive is 293 metres (961 ft) high and it has 65 floors. The construction was finished in 1990. At the time when it was completed, it was the world’s tallest reinforced building. 311 South Wacker Drive was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, HKS, Inc.; with many other firms helping to build the skyscraper.

The top of the building is created by a large cylinder, surrounded by four smaller cylinders. All of them are lighted during the night by fluorescent tubes. The light is so bright, that it can compete with the full moon. The cylinder – “the crown” is actually a very large representation of the engagement ring given by the architect to his wife.

Also the interior of 311 South Wacker Drive is interesting. The front lobby is in fact winter garden with palm trees. The glass roof over it is 26 metres (86 ft) high. There is a bronze sculpture called “Gem of the Lakes” located over the Wacker entrance and looking over the winter garden. This large Neptunian figure drying himself over a seashell fountain was designed by Raymond Kaskey. The lower ground of the winter garden is connected with the Union Station via the underground passageway. There is a canopy over the sidewalk in the winter garden. It was added in 2002.
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