LaSalle-Wacker Building

Lasalle Wacker Building
  1. About the LaSalle-Wacker Building in Chicago
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The LaSalle-Wacker Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Holabird & Root and built between 1929 and 1930 in Chicago, IL.

LaSalle-Wacker Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as 121 West Wacker Drive.

Its precise street address is 221 LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

The building has been restored 2 times over the years to ensure its conservation and adaptation to the pass of time. The main restoration works happened in 1998 and 2005.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
1929
95
Construction completed
1930
94
Restoration
1998
26
Restoration
2005
19
years ago
2024

Architect and team

Holabird & Root was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design. But there was also one other architect involved, as far as we know. We are talking about Andrew Rebori.

The studio was founded in Chicago in 1880, and even though it has changed names several times, the firm has evolved and is still active more than a century later.

The firm has played an important role in shaping the skyline of the windy city, and in the overall development of modern architecture in the United States.

The studio has evolved and adapted to the passage of time, from its rise with the Art Deco movement, to embracing the Modern style, and currently introducing sustainability into their designs.

Holabird Root

Holabird & Root and the other architects already mentioned were 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 at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Smith & Brown in charge of Structural Engineering.

Architectural Style

The LaSalle-Wacker Building can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The LaSalle-Wacker Building was completed in 1930, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The LaSalle-Wacker Building reaches an architectural height of 512ft (156m), 543ft (165.5m) if you count the antenna. It has a total of 41 floors, which combined offer a total of 419,997 sqf (39,019m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 95 spots available, which roughly equals 2 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 4,424 sqf (411m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1930, the LaSalle-Wacker Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

543ft (165.5m)
512ft (156m)

Materials & Structure

The LaSalle-Wacker Building 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 light-colored limestone and granite cladding.

Another material found at the LaSalle-Wacker Building is terracota, used for some of the facade details and ornamentation.