150 North Riverside, Chicago Construction, and The Quest For New Angles

The Riverbend Three from the Hancock

The Riverbend Three, from the 94th floor of The John Hancock Center.

Check the John Hancock Center off the list.

It took me far too long to return to 360 Chicago. Actually, this was my first visit since the renaming. And they’ve done a lot of work to the observation area on the 94th floor. The TILT thing (no, I did not), new benches and seating areas, a nice food counter.

But the views haven’t changed. I mean, they have, in as much as Chicago itself is constantly changing. It’s a great vantage point for all things northward in Chicago. Not so much for the South Loop. But that’s what the Sears Tower is for. Some day soon, the Aon Center will help out in that regard as well.



150 North Riverside Makes Headlines Again

150 N Riverside

Early Saturday morning, wood framing around the highest reach of the building’s core looked like they’d been through a rough night.

My beloved 150 North Riverside tower continues to make headlines in Chicago. And not in good ways.

As I’m sure you recall (and I’m even more sure I’ll never let you forget) 150 first became famous for sinking a construction barge on the Chicago River back in October of 2014. Then, a year and five days later, a minor structural collapse inside the core brought emergency vehicles to the site in droves.

150 North Wacker

I counted three such boarded-up holes in 150 North Wacker’s west facade.

Then, this past Friday, furious winds on as unseasonably warm February day sent construction materials airborne like so many whirling seeds from a maple tree. Vehicles and pedestrians were prohibited from using Wacker, Lake, and Randolph streets around the tower until late Saturday morning. Buildings along Wacker Drive were evacuated, and it appeared windows were broken in the west wall of 150 North Wacker.

150 North Riverside tower crane

Fortunately, the mighty tower crane stood firm.

Once the dust and wind and plywood settled, crews were able to get back into the tower and begin shoring up the scaffold and framing that had been ripped apart by the high winds, and work got back to normal. Or, as normal as can be for this already famous, though not half complete, office building.

150 N Riverside

Slightly disheveled, but still mighty pretty.


Riverbend Three Now One-Third More Complete

The Riverbend Three

The Riverbend Three on a beautiful, sunny Chicago morning.

It’s been a few months since I tried to make The Riverbend Three a thing. A lot has changed since then. Mostly, height. Let’s take a look at the progress on these three amigos.

150 N Riverside

150 North Riverside gleams in the morning sun from the Randolph Street bridge.

150 North Riverside is the baby of the group, though it’s hard to tell that lately. Designed by Chicago architecture firm Goettsch Partners, it will be a 54-story office tower when it opens in 2017. It will include a 1.5-acre park on its grounds. If that park is even a fraction as spectacular as this building has been during construction, it will immediately become one of the best places in Chicago to hang out. Imagine relaxing in the lawn and staring up at this beauty.

River Point

River Point. All glass and fancy arches. The best arches this side of the Mississippi.

River Point, which topped out in December, will some day be shorter than its neighbor across Lake Street, 150 North Riverside. The 52-story office tower rises 730 feet into the air above the Chicago River, 47 feet shy of 150’s ultimate height. This tower will also have a great 1.5-acre park at its base, but it’s those arches that will stand out most. Expect River Point’s grand opening early in 2017.

By the way, its address is 444 West Lake Street. At least for now. It is *not* 200 North Riverside Plaza.

Wold Point West

Wolf Point West, the first of three proposed towers at Wolf Point.

Wolf Point West is the only residential tower of The Riverbend Three. The 48-story building is 493 feet tall and boasts 509 apartments. It was designed by another Chicago firm, bKL Architecture. The first tenants started moving in back in January; none of them have invited me up to check out their views of the Chicago River and skyline. Rude. Still, it’s too soon to give up hope; there are two more towers slated for the space at Wolf Point.

The Sights and Smells of Chicago

150 North Riverside

150 North Riverside and the Chicago River from the Kinzie Street bridge.

Few places in the world (that’s a *major* assumption; I haven’t been to the whole world yet) offer a view this spectacular, combined with the fragrant aroma of hot cocoa.

But thanks to the Kinzie Street bridge and the nearby Blommer Chocolate Company, Chicago has just such a magical place. Stop by there sometime, and feast your sense.

Kinzie railroad bridge

This is the useless, stuck-in-the-up-position railroad bridge that adds so much to the view.

River Point Gets Its Due

River Point

Looking straight up at River Point from Canal Street.

You might know by now, but I really love 150 North Riverside. I walk past it nearly every day, twice, yet rarely do I not stop and take pictures.

Yet just across Lake Street there grows a tower almost equally fascinating to watch, but for some reason I’m not nearly as vocal about it. And I don’t get why. It’s not that I haven’t noticed it; it has its own file on my laptop, a couple hundred pictures’ worth, with untold-dozens more still to be sorted. It’s time it got its own post.

River Point, at 444 West Lake Street, broke ground more than three years ago. They spent considerable time clawing at the dirt at Lake and Canal, getting the site ready to build. And build they have. The future 52-story office tower is well on the way to topping out, and naturally, I’ve taken a few photos as it takes over the riverbend.


What are the hallmarks of your hallway?

Favorite Turkish rug

My favorite rug in the store, but not a runner. This one is 11’6′ by 5′

I know that seems like a strange question to ask. But there is some context involved.

We’ve been discussing Turkish rugs at the store. And much of the talk lately has been directed towards runners, rather than area rugs. I want the bright, colorful rugs that probably don’t go with anything anyone else would have in their decor. Because I’m the last person on earth you want deciding what goes with what in your home.

small turkish rug

Also not a runner, but you can see the kinds of color I’m drawn to.

Turns out, I know nothing about rugs and Chicago. Those I would have ordered, I’m told are too wide for “Chicago hallways.” Chicago’s hallways tend to be less than 3 feet wide, they say. Is this true? I need to know.

I need you to measure your hallways, Chicago. Width is the important criteria, but send me length, too. I want to know if there are wide open spaces in this city that need covered in bright, beautiful colors.

A “Hawaii: It Was Only A Matter Of Time” post

Maui Crane

Yes, at great risk to my iPhone, I took a picture of construction cranes and beach from the ocean.

I have no reasonable explanation as to why I haven’t written anything here about Hawaii. Perhaps because we were overwhelmed by it. Maybe because I haven’t been able to sort through the billions of pictures I took to find the most-compelling. But I gotta start somewhere.

I wrote the post below about the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas coming to Maui for Chicago Architecture as soon as we got home. It’s on our as-yet very long list of places we wouldn’t mind retiring to. Before you judge me and my honeymoon priorities, know that it only took me about an hour to get these photos, and no wife of mine was neglected during this time. Heck, she was on the beach. I could have been gone for 3 days and she wouldn’t have noticed.

I mentioned Hawaii being overwhelming. It is. We saw a fraction of the islands, and left feeling like we had barely scratched the surface. We weren’t yet on a plane back to the mainland and were already scheming ways to return. And return we will.

In this space, over the next few weeks, I’ll do my best to share our experiences with you, and hopefully convey our urgent need to get back to Hawaii. Soon. And often.