Grand Plaza I Building

Grand Plaza I Building
  1. About the Grand Plaza I Building in Chicago
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Grand Plaza I Building is a Contemporary skyscraper designed by Loewenberg + Associates, in association with OWP&P Architects, and built between 1997 and 2003, for a reported $200 million dollars, in Chicago, IL.

Grand Plaza I Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The Grand Plaza I Building is also known, or has been known as, The Residences at Grand Plaza, or Grand Plaza East Tower.

Its precise street address is 540 North State Street, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

In 2021 the Grand Plaza I Building was awarded with the Resident Satisfaction award winners by SatisFacts.

The Grand Plaza I Building is one of the two towers that make up the Grand Plaza Complex, which takes up an entire city block.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago

Architect and team

Loewenberg + Associates was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design, in association with OWP&P Architects.

Loewenberg + Associates 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 Grand Plaza I Building a reality:

  • Koz Sowlat in charge of Structural Engineering
  • James McHugh Construction Co. as the Main Contractor
  • Otis Elevator Company as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Magellan Development Group, US Equities as the Main Developer
  • Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers in charge of MEP Engineering

Architectural Style

The Grand Plaza I 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 Grand Plaza I Building is inspired by the postmodernism style.

Spaces & Uses

The Grand Plaza I Building reaches an architectural height of 641ft (195.4m). It has a total of 56 floors.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 1000 spots available, which roughly equals 18 spots per floor (above ground).

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 2003, the Grand Plaza I Building has been a mixed use building. It incorporates 3 main uses, which are residential, retail, and parking spaces.

641ft (195.4m)

Materials & Structure

The Grand Plaza I Building uses a frame structure made of concrete columns and 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 of the building however, is load bearing. This doesn't imply that it is a traditional load-bearing wall. Rather, it means that the structure's exterior pillars have been pushed to the very edges, becoming integrated with the facade, and therefore, technically, a part of it.

The structure is organized vertically in columns and shear walls, which help sustain horizontal forces, such as that from the wind

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features some shear walls with window openings, combined with large sections of balconies.

The last 6 floors of the building are combined in pairs and progressively recesses, creating larger terraces for the penthouses.

The base of the building occupies most of the city block, giving a feeling of solidness and massiveness .