Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower

Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower
  1. About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower in Chicago
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower is a Contemporary skyscraper designed by Goettsch Partners and built between 1995 and 1997, for a reported $503 million dollars, in Chicago, IL.

Its precise street address is 300 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower has received multiple architecture awards for its architectural design since . The following is a list of such prizes and awards:

  • Distinguished Building Honor Award – American Institute of Architects, Chicago Chapter in 1998
  • Interior Architecture Award – American Institute of Architects, Chicago Chapter in 1998
  • TOBY Award – Building Owners & Managers Association/Chicago in 2000
  • Trustee Award – Chicago Architecture Foundation in 2007
  • Development of the Year – Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards in 2010
  • Merit Award for New Construction Chicago – Chicago Building Congress in 2011
  • Building Team Platinum Award – Building Design & Construction Magazine in 2011
  • Distinguished Building Award – American Institute of Architects, Chicago Chapter in 2011
  • AIA - Local Awards in 2011
  • Vision Award, Innovation – Urban Land Institute, Chicago in 2012
  • Global Award for Excellence – Urban Land Institute in 2014

The building is one of a few in the city that uses his monumental high to communicate with the people of Chicago. Through its lighting system, the facade can display messages towards the city, turning the entire building into a huge, low-resolution screen.

The building underwent a major restoration between 2007 and 2010. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was James Goettsch.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 2007 to 2010 - The restoration of the health insurer's headquarters stands as a testament to forward-thinking design and engineering ingenuity. With the addition of 24 floors atop its original structure, the building was transformed from 30 to 54 stories, soaring from 142 to 227 meters in height. This expansion significantly increased the total area of the building. Such a feat not only accommodates the company's growth but also underscores a commitment to urban innovation, showcasing the seamless integration of modern needs with existing architectural frameworks. The architect in charge was James Goettsch.

Architect and team

Goettsch Partners 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, which usually involves 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 Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower a reality:

  • Magnusson Klemencic Associates in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Walsh Construction Co as the Main Contractor
  • Permasteelisa Group in charge of Facade Consultancy
  • Mitsubishi Electric & Electronic as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) as the Main Developer
  • Cosentini Associates in charge of MEP Engineering

Architectural Style

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower 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 Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower is inspired by the international-style style.

Spaces & Uses

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower reaches an architectural height of 745ft (227m), with the last accesible floor being 682ft (208m) off the gorund. It has a total of 57 floors, 54 above ground and 3 basements, served by 36 elevators, which combined offer a total of 2,299,987 sqf (213,676m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 5226 spots available, which roughly equals 97 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 441 sqf (41m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1997, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower has mainly been used as Commercial space.

745ft (227m)
682ft (208m)
3 basements

Materials & Structure

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a blue-tinted glass curtain wall. The curtain wall extends uninterrupted on the long facades of the building, and is divided by marble-clad mullions on the short sides. Each module of the curtain wall is divided into transparent glass large pane at the top and a textured glass spandrel below it. The spandrels are delimited by two ribbons of white glass, which create a horizontal striped pattern.