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.



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.


150 North Riverside: A 2016 Update


150 N Riverside

How about that photo bomb by River Point? Wolf Point West sneaks in, too.

It hasn’t been a year since I’ve updated you on 150 North Riverside’s progress, but I haven’t updated you since last year, either, so it’s time to remedy that situation.

The biggest change since my November update, besides the obvious increase in height, is glass. Lots of glorious, shimmering, shiny glass. And not just a window here and there. The cladding has covered seven full floors so far, and is rapidly spreading higher.

Also a huge improvement, at least as far as I’m concerned, is the lighting at 150 after work crews have gone home. One of the outstanding features of next-door-neighbor River Point’s construction process has been the interior lights that have made it nothing short of radiant at night. 150 N Riverside hasn’t reached equal levels of luminosity, but it’s much prettier in the dark than it used to be.

But enough of the verbiage. You already know tons about this building, so let’s just cut straight to the pictures. Pictures are fun.


150 North Riverside. November Update

150 N Riverside

River Point and 150 North Riverside continue to grow up together, like your new neighbors’ kids.

A minor setback has done little to slow down progress at 150 North Riverside. The first Monday of November shows 14 (and a half?) floors have been added atop the upside-down-pyramid-shaped base. I left the house for work without my camera, but seeing the way the sun was hitting the tower, I whipped out the ever-present iPhone and snapped a few shots on the way to the brown line.

Did you need an update? Probably not. Can I walk by on a morning this beautiful without taking pictures? Absolutely not. So here you go…

150 North Riverside Crew Demonstrates Why I’m Not in Construction


150 North Riverside lead photo

No. Just…no.


Kudos to the crews from Clark Construction here at 150 North Riverside, and everyone else in the construction industry, willing to climb to such heights so we all have places to live, work, and play.

Now, enjoy some photos.


Checking up on the Riverbend Three

The Riverbend Three

The Riverbend Three

I wasn’t away for long, but I was away. And in the construction trade, a week out of The Loop (no pun intended) means things will look very different the next time you drop by.

I may not share pictures on a daily basis from 150 N. Riverside, et al, but rest assured, I take ’em daily. So missing a week’s worth of progress on The Riverbend Three was quite noticeable. Not just at 150, but at the now-topped-out Wolf Point West, and the tower at River Point as well. So let’s get you caught up.

150 N Riverside

150 N Riverside, starting to head straight skyward.

That sweet tapering steel work at 150 North Riverside we’ve all been gawking at for the past several weeks has stopped flaring outward and is going vertical. Remember, this will grow to 54 stories when all is said and done, some time in early 2017.

150 N Riverside

On the last day of August, before that first layer of vertical steel.

That means we still have a lot of time to watch the core grow, followed by additional iron work as this glorious office tower continues to sprout skyward.

River Point, 444 West Lake Street

River Point, at 444 W Lake Street, has started adding glass.

River Point, 444 West Lake Street, at night

River Point at night.

The excitement at River Point (444 West Lake Street) not only involves the continuing challenge to gravity, but also the replacement of its shroud of secrecy with gleaming glass. That’s especially fun to watch on a building that curves the way River Point curves. If you look to the right end of said glass, there appears to be the beginnings of an archway similar to that facing the Chicago River. I can root against the Cardinals while still liking those archways, right? It’s not like I prefer St Louis-style ribs to Chicago pizza.

And while I wish I could see what’s going on within the structure work during the day, the view of River Point at night makes all the extra clothing seem worth it. It looks like a giant luminary floating down the Chicago River.

Wolf Point West

The 48-story Wolf Point West

Expected to open this Fall, there remains a considerable amount of work to be done on Wolf Point West, but the 48-story rental tower topped out back in July, and the tower crane came down just a couple weeks ago. Those are nice balconies, but with two more towers coming in the Wolf Point project, will there be views left to enjoy?

There was a “hard-hat tour” of Wolf Point West back in August, and I missed it. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat put the event together in conjunction with the builder, McHugh Construction. Invitees got to put on hard hats and goggles and take photos, not only of the tower and its interior, but also of the views looking out across Chicago and the Chicago River. I’m still bummed I couldn’t be there.

The uppermost floors of Wolf Point West await glass.

The uppermost floors of Wolf Point West await glass.

Remember, with 150 North Riverside expected to be complete in 2017, and two more towers still to come at Wolf Point, the river bend will be an active construction site for years to come. Stay tuned.

It’s okay to love those buildings, even before they’re done

Moon and crane working high above 1001 South State Street

The moon guides a Walsh Construction working high above 1001 South State Street. One of my favorite shots.

In the days when I couldn’t be bothered to carry a camera around with me, I was content to look at trees and puppies and sunsets, as one does. If I went somewhere special, I could be persuaded to snap a shot or two of a particularly scenic venue. But over all, I was fine living with the images in my head.

Then, the iPhone era took over, and suddenly I was noticing things I’d never paid attention to. Buildings, bridges, a well-cooked steak. All were now items of fascination for me, things I’d want to look back on fondly. And now I had an easy means of doing so, because a camera could fit in my pocket, instead of a padded shoulder bag that made my back sweat.

My obsession with buildings (I never call it “architecture.” I know very little about “architecture,” but I love buildings) would soon morph into a love of the construction process. Not just the finished product itself, though I still thoroughly enjoy searching for new angles from which to photograph existing structures. But now, I like to document the progress that transforms an empty lot into a towering skyscraper. That means trying to get to that parking lot while the cars are still there, before any equipment comes in to start sampling the soil or drilling the caissons.

And what I’ve come to realize is this: the lines, the colors, the geometry of a construction site, often make for as compelling a photo shoot as the skyscraper itself. My favorites? You already know about 150 North Riverside. It’s teamed with River Point and Wolf Point West to create an amazing spectacle along the Chicago River I like to call The Riverbend Three. The construction at 1001 South State Street has also been fun to watch. So many lines (and a #mooncrane!) so little time.

Want to see what I see? Of course you do: