One Prudential Plaza

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

The One Prudential Plaza is an International Style skyscraper designed by Naess & Murphy and built between 1952 and 1955 in Chicago, IL.

One Prudential Plaza is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as Prudential Building.

Its precise street address is 130 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

This building was constructed over the airspace owned by the Illinois Central Railroad, making it the last structure to be connected to the historic network of tunnels created by the Chicago Tunnel Company. Its foundation is uniquely designed, supported by pilings that anchor it at 500 distinct points. The support columns beneath the Plaza Level were strategically placed among the railroad tracks to integrate seamlessly with the existing infrastructure. Today, there's a subway station located right underneath the building.

The building underwent a major restoration in 2014. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was The Auburn Corporation.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 2014 - This restoration focused on updating the facade. During the works all windows were replaced for new, more energy-efficient ones. The architect in charge was The Auburn Corporation.

Architect and team

Naess & Murphy was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Naess & Murphy 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 One Prudential Plaza a reality:

  • Naess & Murphy in charge of Structural Engineering
  • George A. Fuller Co. as the Main Contractor
  • Westinghouse as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Alfonzo Lanelli as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The One Prudential Plaza 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.

The One Prudential Plaza was completed in 1955. By 1955 the International Style movement had already left its early days behind and could be considered a mature movement, which does not mean it was loved and accepted by everyone, on the contrary. The International Style was accepted by the architecture community way before it was by the general public, and it is therefore likely that the One Prudential Plaza was not well received by everyone at the time.

Spaces & Uses

The One Prudential Plaza reaches an architectural height of 600ft (183m), 912ft (278m) if you count the antenna. It has a total of 43 floors, 41 above ground and 2 basements, served by 30 elevators.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1955, the One Prudential Plaza has mainly been used as Commercial space.

912ft (278m)
600ft (183m)
2 basements

Materials & Structure

The One Prudential Plaza uses a frame structure made of steel columns and collaborative sheet metal floors 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.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features is composed of vertical strips of limestone and pivoting windows with ribbed aluminum spandrels. During the 2014 restoration, the windows were replaced with single-glass pieces of low-energy consumption.