United Building is a Postmodern office building located in the Loop in Chicago. It is also known as 77 West Wacker Drive and was formerly known as RR Donnelly Building during the time when the RR Donnelley printing company was the building’s primary tenant. It is currently the corporate headquarters of United Airlines, with its deal including the naming rights for the building. Microsoft also occupies multiple floors in the building.
United Building History
The United Building finished construction in 1992. Prior to its completion, several companies have already shown intention of transferring to the building. One of them is the law firm Keck, Mahin & Cate who decided to move out of Sears Tower and into the potentially new building, already known at that time by its address as 77 West Wacker Drive. Printing company also signed a lease some time in 1991 from 9th to 19th floors to serve as its world headquarters. Kemper Securities leased around 150,000 square feet or 14,000 square meters. With all the lease agreements, the building was able to have 86 percent of its tenant space occupied.
In 2004, RR Donnelly decided to move out of the building. It was in 2006 that United Airlines moved in to the building, becoming its major tenant and given the naming right to the building. But in August of 2012, United Airlines decided to relocate its world headquarters from United Building to Chicago’s Willis Tower. With United Airlines vacating its office space, the naming future for 77 West Wacker Drive remains unknown.
United Building Features
United Building was designed by James DeStefano of the Chicago firm DeStefano + Partners with Ricardo Bofill of Taller de Arquitectura of Barcelona as design consultant. The building stands 668 feet or 204 meters high. It has a total of 51 floors. It also has a total of 944,000 square feet or 87,700 square meters of interior space.
The facade of the building comprises of glass surfaces framed with Portuguese white granite. The top floor is designed to look like a temple. The ground floor contains an 18-meter high atrium made out of gray and white marble. The interiors follow a classical Greek style design with Thassos marble walls. At nighttime, around 540 lamps are used to light up the building and its surroundings, giving it a dramatic lighting effect.