Riverside Plaza Building

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

The Riverside Plaza Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Holabird & Root and built between 1928 and 1929 in Chicago, IL.

Riverside Plaza Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as Chicago Daily News Building.

Its precise street address is 2 N Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

At the time of its completion in 1929 the Riverside Plaza Building incorporated solutions that were quite advanced at the time, these included a public open-air plaza as part of the design, something which is way more common, and in some cases even mandatory, in modern skyscrapers design. But that was not the only urbanistic trend that this building set, it was also one of the first to ever use the air rights over another lot, in this case over the railroad tracks.

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 2009 and 2023.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago

Architect and team

Holabird & Root was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

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 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 Riverside Plaza Building a reality:

  • Frank E. Brown in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Otis as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Chicago Daily News as the Main Developer

Architectural Style

The Riverside Plaza 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 Riverside Plaza Building was completed in 1929, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Riverside Plaza Building reaches an architectural height of 302ft (92m). It has a total of 29 floors, 26 above ground and 3 basements.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1929, the Riverside Plaza Building has mainly been used as Commercial space, with other complementary uses such as retail space.

302ft (92m)
3 basements

Materials & Structure

The Riverside Plaza 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 light brown limestone.