One Illinois Center

One Illinois Center
  1. About the One Illinois Center in Chicago
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The One Illinois Center is an International Style skyscraper designed in 1966 by Mies van der Rohe, in association with Joseph Fujikawa, and built between 1967 and 1970 in Chicago, IL.

One Illinois Center is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as 111 East Wacker Building.

Its precise street address is 111 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

The building is one fo two forming the Illinois Center.

The complex is crossed by East South Water Street, and it does so at three different levels.

  • The upper level is designated for local traffic
  • THe middle level is reserved for direct traffic passing through
  • The lower level is reserved for service vehicles

Also underground, we can find a pedestrian walkway, and a collection of commercial an retail spaces. This space connects directly to the three levels of underground parking, which is shared by all the two buildings in the complex and all it's tenants, including four hotels. This underground space also provides access to the EL and Metra train lines.

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 2018 and 2018.

Building's timeline

Design completed
Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 2018 - The lobby was remodel, as were the walkways, stairs, escalators, canopies, and installation of new cobblestones, planters, and seating areas in the plaza. The architect in charge was Goettsch Partners.
  2. 2018 - The ground floor of the building was remodeled to house The Chicago Architecture Center. The architect in charge was Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

Architect and team

Mies van der Rohe was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design, in association with Joseph Fujikawa.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886 in Germany. During the first part of his career, he ran his own practice in Berlin, and later on became the director of the Bauhaus School of Architecture.

Mies is considered one of the fathers of modern architecture. His work played an instrumental role in defining the aesthetics of the International Style, emphasizing simplicity, clean lines, and the use of modern materials like steel and glass. His famous statement, "less is more" sums up his design philosophy, which advocated for the elimination of unnecessary ornamentation and a return to the fundamental principles of architecture.

After the Bauhaus was shut down by the Natzi regime, he emigrated to Chicago. There he became the director of the IIT School of Architecture, as well as ran his own architectural firm. During his years in Chicago he continued to explore and promote the principles of the International Style, and had a huge impact on the development of modern skyscrapers.

His legacy can not only be found spread throughout Europe and the US in the shape of iconic buildings such as the German Pavilion, the Tugendhat House, the Crown Hall or the Seagram Building, but also in the architecture curriculum he developed at the IIT which greatly influenced many generations of architects, even to this day.

Mies Van Der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe 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 at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Tishman Construction as the Main Contractor.

Architectural Style

The One Illinois Center can be categorized as an International Style building.

The international style originated in Europe in the early 20th century, and made its way to the US a couple of decades later when the rise of the Nazi regime forced figures such as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, or Mies van der Rohe to flee Europe.

The International Style emerged as a response to the prevailing historicism and ornate architecture styles of the late 19th century, which according to a younger generation of architects didn't represent the new materials and construction techniques that were on the rise at the time.

Architecture in the early 20th century US was marked by the adoption of steel structures, modern construction techniques, and the rise of the skyscraper. As it turns out, this combination of circumstances created the perfect ecosystem for the International Style to flourish, becoming the to-go style for skyscraper designs during the mid-20th century, when American cities were growing fast.

The International Style’s legacy can not only be found in numerous iconic buildings across all major American cities, but also incorporated in contemporary architecture, which still puts a big emphasis on functionality and minimalism.

Spaces & Uses

The One Illinois Center reaches an architectural height of 361ft (110m). It has a total of 34 floors, 30 above ground and 4 basements, which combined offer a total of 1,063,635 sqf (98,815m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 866 spots available, which roughly equals 29 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 1,227 sqf (114m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1970, the One Illinois Center has mainly been used as Commercial space, with other complementary uses such as hotel, retail, and parking spaces.

361ft (110m)
4 basements

Materials & Structure

The One Illinois Center uses a frame structure made of concrete columns and beams.

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 bronze-colored anodized aluminum and polarized glass curtain wall..