The Wrigley Building, Chicago

Wrigley buildingThe Wrigley building is located in 410 N Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. It is located in an area more popularly known as the Magnificent Mile which is the main thoroughfare of the city’s business district as well as the center for its nightlife. The impressive building was built to be the corporate headquarters of the Wrigley Company.

The Wrigley Building has been considered for over 75 years as one of Chicago’s most attractive buildings. Work on the structure started at around the 1920’s when the bubble gum magnate, William Wrigley Jr. chose the location for his company’s headquarters at a time when no major office buildings were being built north of the Chicago River.

The building was designed by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. The firm designed the building inspired by the shape of the Giralda tower of Seville’s Cathedral in Spain and mixed it up with French Renaissance details.

The 425 foot south tower of the building was completed in April of 1921 while the north tower took until May of 1924 to complete. Several walkways were added to connect the two towers at different areas of the structure during the ensuing years. All in all, the two towers of the Wrigley Building cover a combined area 453,433 square feet, not including the lower levels located below Michigan Avenue. The two towers do not stand at similar heights. The south tower rises 30 stories tall while the north tower of the building rises up to only 21 stories.

The south tower also houses a clock which occupies about two stories. The giant clock also features four dials, each of the four sides of the tower, with each one measuring 19 feet and 7 inches in diameter. The hour hand of each dial measures 6 feet and 4 inches in length while the minute hand spans 9 feet and 2 inches long. The hour and minute hands were originally made out of redwood but was later on changed using aircraft grade aluminum for added durability.

One of the striking features of the Wrigley Building is the use of about 250,000 individual glazed terra cotta tiles used throughout the structure. At the time of its construction, it was considered as the most extensive use of the material for any building. Even more impressive is how each terra cotta tile is individually identified in a computer database to enable a more consistent tracking system for a more efficient maintenance of each individual tile used in the building. The building’s interiors also contain several striking brass work throughout both to the tower’s lobbies. 

During nighttime, the Wrigley Building provides the city with one of its more impressive lighting displays. Illumination for the building is provided by a several sets of lights which include 116, 1,000-watt metal halide lamps mounted on the southern side of the Chicago River.

There are also seven other such lamps located at street level while 16 other lamps are located on the west side of the building. There are also 62 other lamps built on the building itself to provide the gradual brightness of the building towards the top, making it a very spectacularly lighted display at night.

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