300 North LaSalle
by: chicago designslinger
[300 North LaSalle (2009) Pickard Chilton, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Although Mr. Trump's tower gets lots of press and thousands of pictures posted on the web, 300 North LaSalle, located just down the Chicago River from Trump Tower, shines just as brightly.
[300 North LaSalle, 300 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Chicago's riverbanks have seen quite a transformation over the past 80 years. Once lined with brick warehouses taking in cargo from ships that docked along the river's edge. Today there are only a few of those old structures remaining, and all have been adaptively reconfigured for other uses. The site of architect's Pickard Chilton's tower once housed an undistinguishable 7-story brick warehouse, but the building burned to the ground in a dramatic fire in January, 1951. The next structure that rose on the site, in 1955, was a parking garage owned by the city, which became known as the "traffic court garage" since it was located directly across the street from an old warehouse that had been converted into offices and courtrooms for all those ticketed parking and moving violators. The garage wasn't much to look at, but it did have a kind of modern, mid-century, clean-lined vibe to it with its concrete parapet walls and open air slots.
[300 North LaSalle, River North, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
The architects paid homage to the old parking facility at the base of their building with an outline of materials and color reminiscent of the lower level of the former concrete auto park. From that river-nudging platform, a high-tech, Gold LEED-CS certified, gleaming glass and polished steel skyscraper towers over the waterline. Extra height interiors with floor-to-ceiling tinted panels, not only provide filtered natural light but stunning city views for the lucky employees who fill the building's 52 fully-leased floors. The structure achieved record status in 2010 when developer/owner Hines Interests sold their $450 million investment for $655 million, in a faltering real estate market no less, and set new high-price benchmark for a Chicago office building.