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The AT&T Corporate Center is the 5th tallest completed skyscraper in Chicagomarker in Cook Countymarker, Illinoismarker, United Statesmarker and the 9th tallest in the United States at a height of 1,021 ft (307 m) containing 60 floors. Completed in 1989, the 1.7 million square foot (158,000 m²) supertall building stands two blocks east of the Chicago Rivermarker and northeast of the Willis Towermarker at 227 West Monroe Street (100 South Franklin alternate address) in the Loopmarker community area of downtown Chicago. Composed of retail and commercial office space, the tower is the tallest building constructed in Chicago in the last quarter of the 20th century. The building was built to consolidate American Telephone & Telegraph Company central regional headquarters offices.


In 1982, the American Telephone & Telegraph Company monopoly was dissolved by the court ordered divestiture of local phone companies. In the decade that followed, AT&T erected new buildings across the country including the AT&T Building in New York Citymarker. On April 5, 1985, AT&T issued a request for proposals that produced eleven respondents. Stein and Co., the winning realtor, sought Skidmore, Owings and Merrill as designers for the purpose of distinguishing a proposal from the nearby Willis Tower. On April 3, 1989, AT&T employees began to occupy the office space.

The building was built under a self-imposed comprehensive minority contracting and affirmative action package that met the city's 1985 30% hiring rule for public sector projects. Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's administration had passed an edict that 30% of the work for public sector projects be set aside for minority and women-owned businesses. In a show of support for this rule Stein & Co. and AT&T adopted the rule for their private development.


Designed by Adrian D. Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the AT&T Corporate Center, named after AT&T, is one of the most famous and recognized buildings in Chicago. The building's form features setbacks at the 15th, 30th and 45th floors. Designed in the postmodern architectural style, it is a granite-clad steel-framed building resting on pile foundations. The structure is characterized by strong vertical lines, spiked roof pinnacles, granite cladding and setbacks. The granite is a deep red color at the base, but changes shade to rose-beige at the top. Above the 5th floor, the lighter rose-beige granite is protected by silk-screened aluminum panels. The building relies on Gothic detailing to showcase verticality. The building's verticality evokes images of 1920s buildings, and the sturdiness of the structure is reminiscent of the Chicago Board of Trade Buildingmarker. In addition to its design, the building relies on its location at the farthest corner from the Willis Tower to set it apart.


The Otis elevators are spanned by a series of neo-deco light bands extending wall to wall. The lobby extends completely through the block, with a giant entrance hall at Monroe Street and a 16-story full-height atrium in the link between the AT&T and USG towers (also designed by Smith) as both towers share a common appearance. The building boasts two public lobbies and a mezzanine-level lobby. The lobbies are among the most lavish in Chicago, and they are all decorated with patterned marble floors and walls, bronze, gold-leaf oak trim, and stylized lighting fixtures.


The building features a lobby-level 650-seat restaurant, a retail concourse on two levels, and a 170-car 24-hour parking facility on the lower two levels. The building lobby extends all the way through the block to connect with the nearby USG Building. An atrium links between them. [54913]

Exterior lighting

As with other downtown buildings, the tower's setbacks and spires are accented by colored lights at night. The building's managers were praised for dimming their lights during bird migrations, reducing bird mortality 80%.

USG Building

The USG Corporation developed the 35-story USG Building as its corporate headquarter building immediately adjacent to and connected to the AT&T Corporate Center in 1992. It is located at 125 South Franklin Street. The same developers, architects and design teams were chosen, and the two buildings were built jointly as a block long two building complex on an site. They share a 16-story atrium which houses a grand arcade and serves as a common base to the two separate towers.

Proximity to transit

Positioned near the southwest corner of the Loop, the building is near two elevated stations of the Chicago 'L'. The Quincy stationmarker is one block to the south and the Washington and Wells stationmarker is located two blocks to the north, both on Wells Street. Union Stationmarker stands three blocks to the west on Jackson Boulevard, providing terminal service for Amtrak and select service for Metra. Additional Metra service is provided at the LaSalle Street Stationmarker, four blocks to the south and Ogilvie Transportation Centermarker station four blocks to the north-west.


  • 1990 - Award of Excellence for Urban Development, from the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties
  • 1992 - Best New Building, from the Chicago civic group Friends of Downtown
  • 1997 - Most Valuable Property National Top Ten, from The Wall Street Journal
  • 1998 - Prix d'Excellence, Office Properties Worldwide, from FIABCI International

Position in Chicago's skyline

The Center is the 4th tallest completed building in Chicago, trailing the Willis Towermarker, Aon Centermarker and John Hancock Centermarker in height, but will be surpassed in height by the Chicago Spiremarker, Trump International Hotel and Towermarker and the Waterview Towermarker should each be completed as planned. The building's official height measurement increased to from to when the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat changed measurement conventions to include ornamental spires during the Willis Tower - Petronas Towermarker height controversy.

See also

External links


  1. Steiner, Frances H. "The Architecture of Chicago's Loop", 1998, Sigma Press
  2. Saliga, Pauline A. (ed.), "The Sky's The Limit," pg. 278, 1990 (1992 reprint), Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
  3. AIA Guide to Chicago, 2nd edition, Alice Sinkevitch, ed., 2004, Harcourt Books Inc., pg. 86.
  4. Saliga, Pauline A. (ed.), "The Sky's The Limit," pg. 287, 1990 (1992 reprint), Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.

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