Chicago Architecture Mainly Black & White Click on thumbnail to enlarge image, view caption and use slideshow options. To return to this page click on the image background At 70 floors, 645 feet and with 900 apartments, Lake Point tower was the highest apartment building in the world in 1968. This is a detail from one of its three curving facades. The 2000 feet Chicago Spire, under construction close by to the west, will dominate the City skyline when work resumes after the current financial crisis.Autumn colours in the surrounding gardens are enhanced by the sombre tones of the façade.The Center stands on the site of the former North Western Station built by the Chicago & North Western Railroad in 1911. Commuter trains still operate from the lower floors. The long line of red lights on the trains ranked across the concourse and the rush of people moving to board add theatricality to the evening rush hour.The building’s forms and surfaces reflect themselves, the sky and surrounding facades. Its construction seems lightweight set against the solidity of its neighbours from the nineteen-thirties.The West Madison façade has a central tower flanked by two others, set back. Lower and upper floors are stepped, with their cascading curves and the blue glass cladding seemingly aquatic when reflecting clouds and sky.The landscaped Millennium Park contains Frank Gehry designed Jay Prtzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa and the Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor.The welded stainless form of Cloud Gate derives from a bubble of mercury. This and the two following photographs were taken in October 2005 as polishing the curved undersurface neared completion.The edge welds of the curving sheets of stainless steel and surface imperfections have been removed to create an immaculate reflective surface. By contrast, overlapping metal sheets on the nearby Priztker Pavilion clearly create their own linear network on its curving surfaces.The surface creates a remarkable sequence of images from every distance and vantage point, encouraging the spectator to remain in almost constant interacting motion.The 2004 Jay Pritzker Pavilion by Frank Gehry is an outdoor performance venue. The tubular trellising supports lighting and a sound system that replicates the acoustic of an indoor concert hall.My first sight of the architect’s work was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the only other his very different EMP building in Seattle. Photographs of the latter are in the Seattle Contemporary Architecture 2 gallery.His radically different buildings and the sculptural handling of forms, surfaces and materials exert a strong personal appeal.On an early morning walk along Randolph Street, looking west across North Michigan Avenue.The Gleacher Center was designed by Lohan Associates and completed in 1994 for the University of Chicago Graduate Business School. The tapered tower of the John Hancock Center was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and constructed between 1965 and 1969.Swisshotel – Harry Weese & Associates 1989. Three Illinois Centre – Fujikawa, Conterato, Lohan & Associates 1980. Columbus Plaza – Fujikawa, Conterato, Lohan & Associates 1980Sculpture in the North Michigan Avenue forecourt.