155 North Wacker Building

155 North Wacker
  1. About the 155 North Wacker Building in Chicago
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 155 North Wacker Building is a Contemporary skyscraper designed by Goettsch Partners, with Jim Goettsch and Steve Nilles as lead architect, and built between 2007 and 2009, for a reported $905 million dollars, in Chicago, IL.

Its precise street address is 155 North Wacker, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

The 155 North Wacker Building has received multiple architecture awards for its architectural design since . The following is a list of such prizes and awards:

  • Office project of the Year by the Midwest Construction Magazine in 2009
  • Downtown Office Development of the Year by the NAIOP Chicago Chapter in 2009
  • Patron of the Year, Honorable Mention by the Chicago Architecture Foundation in 2009
  • Merit Award finalist for New Construction Chicago by the Chicago Building Congress in 2010
  • Lumen Award of Merit by the New York City Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America in 2011
  • Commendable Achievement by AL Light & Architecture Design Awards in 2011
  • Honor Award, Urban Design Constructed, Randolph-Franklin Pocket Park by the American Society of Landscape Architects, Illinois Chapter in 2012

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago

Architect and team

Goettsch Partners, with Jim Goettsch and Steve Nilles as the lead architect, was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Goettsch Partners was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline involving many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the 155 North Wacker Building a reality:

  • Magnusson Klemencic Associates in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Bovis Lend Lease as the Main Contractor
  • Permasteelisa Group in charge of Facade Consultancy
  • The John Buck Company as the Main Developer
  • Environmental Systems Design, Inc. in charge of MEP Engineering

Architectural Style

The 155 North Wacker Building can be categorized as a Contemporary building.

Contemporary style architecture builds on top of the principles of Modernism and Postmodernism, but incorporates other variables which might not have been that important in the past, but certainly are today, such as technology, sustainability, inclusivity, and others.

From a historical point of view, it is hard to categorize things from a not-so-distant time, and therefore we choose to categorize most buildings built after the year 2000 as "Contemporary". It is possible that as time goes by and we, as a society, gain perspective on the things happening today, we'll be able to look back and recategorize all these buildings into more concrete subsections, some of which might not even exist today.

That being said, and even thought being a contemporary building, probably taking advantage of modern materials, construction techniques, and technology, the design of the 155 North Wacker Building is inspired by the international-style style.

Spaces & Uses

The 155 North Wacker Building reaches an architectural height of 640ft (195m), with the last accesible floor being 584ft (178m) off the gorund. It has a total of 48 floors, 45 above ground and 3 basements, served by 21 elevators. In total, it has a built-up area of 1,384,991 sqf (128,670m2) offering 1,247,601 sqf (115,906m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 163 spots available, which roughly equals 4 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 7,653 sqf (711m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 2009, the 155 North Wacker Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

640ft (195m)
584ft (178m)
3 basements

Materials & Structure

The 155 North Wacker Building uses a framed tube-in-tube structure , with steel columns and slabs.

A framed tube-in-tube structure uses a central core, known as inner tube, which usually holds stairs, lifts and installations, and a perimeter of columns around it, which form the exterior tube. The interior tube is tipically more massive (often made of reinforced concrete), and the exterior tube is "lighter" (made of steel or concrete columns). Both tubes are conencted via horizontal elements which make up the floors and also transmit any horizontal froces from the facade to the core.

It is uncommon for a framed tube-in-tube structure type building to have a non-load-bearing facade, as the exterior "tube" is usually integrated into the facade.

The building relies on a robust framework of steel and concrete to support its height and withstand Chicago's demanding environmental conditions, including wind and seismic loads. The use of high-strength materials and advanced engineering techniques ensures the stability and safety of the structure, while allowing each floor to offer spaces uninterrupted by any structural element

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a unique open ground floor, featuring a public, sheltered arcade standing 14 meters tall, stretching along the entirety of the southern facade, accompanied by a neighboring two-story lobby. Crafted in stone, the lobby is openly visible from the outside, thanks to two exceedingly transparent walls that seamlessly meld the realms of interior and exterior.

The upper part of the building features a continuous blue-tinted curtain wall with stainless steel details. The most recognizable of these details are the triangular vertical elements that appear to be the edges of the structural columns that are visible at the ground level. however, these metallic profiles are not structural, they mimic the building's structure, but the structure actually runs inside the building, without ever trespassing the curtain wall. This design decision is similar to what Mies van der Rohe did with the I shaped mullions of his facades, which he argued were not an ornament, as they represented the real structure fo the building, even if the mullions themselves did not have a structural function .


  • www.gpchicago.com
  • www.lindner-group.com
  • en.wikipedia.org
  • www.architectmagazine.com
  • www.servcorp.com
  • www.hed.design
  • liquidspace.com