Nobody gets up close and personal with architecture quite like scaffold professionals…the two go hand-in-hand. In preparation for the Scaffold & Access Industry Association’s (SAIA) conference in Chicago, IL, we decided to put together a list of the most interesting architectural designs found within walking distance of the annual conference. This year the SAIA conference is being held at the historic Palmer House Hilton hotel in downtown Chicago.
Chicago is such a big city with so much to see, but there are so many amazing buildings very close to the conference center. It would be a shame if attendees missed the opportunity to recognize the unique designs from the early 20th century. Every building listed is within a 20 minute walk from the conference center. Whether you’re looking to get some fresh air or to stretch your legs, we have you covered.
Ordered by walking distance from the hotel:
- Inland Steel Building – 3 minute walk from hotel – 0.1 miles
- Kluczynski Federal Building – 4 minute walk from hotel – 0.2 miles
- Chicago Cultural Center – 6 minute walk from the hotel – 0.3 miles
- Richard J. Daley Center = 8 minute walk from hotel – 0.4 miles
- Chicago Board of Trade Building – 8 minute walk from hotel – 0.4 miles
- Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) – 10 minute walk from the hotel – 0.5 miles
- James R Thompson Center – 10 minute walk from hotel – 0.5 miles
- Carbide and Carbon Building – 11 minute walk from hotel – 0.5 miles
- Aon Center – 11 minute walk from the hotel – 0.5 miles
- 330 North Wabash Ave (formerly the IBM building) – 13 minute walk from hotel – 0.6 miles
- Marina City – 13 minute walk from hotel – 0.6 miles
- The Wrigley Building – 15 minute walk from hotel – 0.7 miles
- Aqua Tower – 16 min walk from hotel – 0.8 miles
- 333 West Wacker – 16 minute walk from the hotel – 0.8 miles
- Tribune Tower – 17 minute walk from hotel – 0.8 miles
1 – Inland Steel Building
Constructed in the years of 1956-1957, this was the first skyscraper built in the Chicago loop following the Great Depression. This is still one of the city’s most defining buildings, which showcases the post-World War Two era of modern architecture.
2 – Kluczynski Federal Building
Named in honor of Us Congressman John C. Kluczynski, it is the local office for Air Force Recruiting Service, the Department of State Passport Agency, Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Personnel Management, Consumer Product Safety Commission, General Services Administration and offices for both the U.S. senators from Illinois, Richard “Dick” Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.
3 – Chicago Cultural Center
This Chicago Landmark was once the central library building, and was the nation’s first free municipal cultural center. It is now one of the cities most popular attractions and one of the most comprehensive art showcases in the United States.
4 – Richard J. Daley Center
Named after longtime mayor Richard J. Daley, it is the premier civic center of the city. It was featured in major movie productions like, The Blues Brothers and The Dark Knight. Make sure to get your picture taken in front of this building!
5 – Chicago Board of Trade Building
The Chicago Board of Trade Building was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1978. While originally built for the Chicago Board of Trade, it is now the primary trading venue for the derivatives exchange. It is a lasting reminder of the city’s former industrial might.
6 – Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
By Photo taken in 1998 by Wikipedia user Soakologist. No rights claimed or reserved. – From enwiki., Copyrighted free use, Link
10 minute walk from the hotel – 0.5 miles
233 S Wacker Dr Chicago, IL 60606
The former Sears Tower was once the world’s tallest building and is still one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It is a 110-story, 1,450-foot skyscraper that has become the 16th tallest building in the world since its completion in 1973. This amazing building sees over 1 million visitors each year; mostly to get a glimpse of the city from the skydecks located on the 99th and 103rd floors.
7 – James R Thompson Center
This building serves as a secondary capital for the state of illinois and holds offices for the Illinois state government. While the inside may not be in the best condition, it is one of the more fascinating buildings within the city.
8 – Carbide and Carbon Building
Covered in polished black granite, dark green terracotta, and gold leaf accents, this building is an Art Deco masterpiece as it demonstrates an appearance of the subterranean carbon deposits in the decay of ancient plants. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on May 9, 1996.
9- Aon Center
By Jay Carriker (User:JCarriker) – Author, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link
11 minute walk from the hotel – 0.5 miles – also get to walk through millennium park
200 E Randolph Drive Chicago, IL 60601
Formerly the Amoco Building, this skyscraper is the third tallest building in Chicago. When completed in 1974 it was the tallest building in Chicago but was surpassed by the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Originally built for Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco), it had the nickname “Big Stan”.
10 – 330 North Wabash Ave (formerly the IBM building)
Currently a high end Langham hotel, this was once known as IBM Plaza and home to IBM. Now renamed AMA Plaza, this 52 story building overlooks the Chicago River and its major tenants include the American Medical Association (AMA).
11 – Marina City
Marina City was the original “city within a city” development. It consists of two 587-foot, 65 story towers, and this was the first building in the United States to be constructed with tower cranes.
12 – The Wrigley Building
The Wrigley Building is one of Chicago’s earliest architectural icons. This building was one of the first major office buildings in downtown Chicago, which served as the headquarters for William Wrigley Jr.’s famous chewing gum company.
13 – Aqua Tower
By George Showman – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gshowman/3668250139/, CC BY 2.0, Link
16 min walk from hotel – 0.8 miles
221 N Columbus Dr Chicago, IL 60601
The Aqua skyscraper is an 82 story mixed-use residential building in downtown Chicago. It was previously awarded the Emporis Skyscraper award as 2009 skyscraper of the year.
14 – 333 West Wacker
With it’s glossy curves that reflect the Chicago River, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The design allows the glass to reflect both the sky and the river flowing next to it. It’s one of the must-see buildings in the city.
15 – Tribune Tower
This neo-gothic skyscraper was once the home of the Chicago Tribune, which conducted both publishing and broadcasting from the location. It is listed as a Chicago Landmark, so it is a must-see during a trip into the city.