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Three Funky Building Designs


Willis, Trump, and Hancock already get enough press. We’d like to highlight some of Chicago’s funkier, and dare we say cooler, building designs. Slightly spooky 632 N Dearborn in River North is probably most familiar as the home to now defunct nightclubs Excalibur and Vision. (The latest concept there is appropriately called Caste Chicago.) We’re all far too young to remember that this Henry Ives Cobb Romanesque Revival building was home to the Chicago Historical Society in the early 20th century (and the Loyal Order of Moose years later).


Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City may have been completed in the ‘60s, but it truly shot to stardom when it graced local favorite Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album cover in 2002. You’d never know the complex used to house a movie theater and skating rink. Today we’d recommend a steak dinner at Smith & Wollensky (those corncob-shaped towers would make anyone hungry) before rocking out at the House of Blues.


Jeanne Gang’s WMS Boathouse at Clark Park elegantly represents rhythmic rowers in motion. It also adds some serious funky cred to the Chicago River. Completed last year by Chicago’s current architecture darling (continuing on her undulating Aqua tower’s water theme), the facility includes boat storage, a training center for rowers, and canoe/kayak rental.

What’s your favorite cool, weird, or just plain awesome design in Chicago? Email and we’ll publish more in a future installment!