Living High… Where the Birds Sing – Chicago’s Most Popular Highrise Buildings

The Windy City, known for its rich history, captivating culture, and vibrant nightlife, is perhaps best known for its iconic architecture and breathtaking skyline dotted with towering residential buildings. Each of these high-rises has its own story to tell, a unique architectural design, and a distinct charm that attracts both locals and tourists.

TRIBUNE TOWER RESIDENCES represents one of Chicago’s most magnificent and iconic residential buildings, with a rich history and considered a historic landmark. The tower was completed in 1925 and served as the headquarters for the Chicago Tribune newspaper. The tower’s design was the result of an international architectural competition, and it incorporates fragments of famous buildings from around the world, giving it a distinctive and eclectic appearance. In 2023, after years of renovation, national design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) completed the conversion of Tribune Tower on the riverfront end of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

One of the standout features of the Tribune Tower is its façade, adorned with numerous stones and fragments from famous structures around the world. These fragments include pieces from the Great Wall of China, the Parthenon in Athens, the Colosseum in Rome, and many other renowned landmarks. Living in the Tribune Tower condos means being surrounded by architectural history.

Perhaps my favorite amenity is the Crown Terrace, perched on the 25th floor and presenting the most magical views of Chicago. The flying buttresses are on full display criss-crossing and arching overhead, allowing light to splash over the seating areas. There’s also an outdoor dining spot with a grill, all connected to an indoor chef’s kitchen.

Living in the Tribune Tower condos provides a sense of prestige and exclusivity. The building’s historical significance, unique design, and prime location contribute to its desirability among residents who value luxury, history, and the vibrancy of downtown Chicago.

An example of a ‘new from the ground up’ building that stands out is AQUA at Lakeshore East, an 82-story mixed-use residential skyscraper located in the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago. The Aqua Tower’s design is a brilliant new approach to the problem long ago identified by Louis Sullivan—how to create an aesthetic for a functional tall building. The basic structure is a standard, modern box. But Jeanne Gang and her firm, Studio Gang, surrounded this box with slow-rippling, white concrete balconies, giving the skyscraper a sculptural quality. The design of the building is inspired by the striated limestone outcroppings that are a common topographic feature of the Great Lakes region.

Another impressive building is THE LEGACY AT MILLENNIUM PARK. This 72-story skyscraper offers unobstructed views of Lake Michigan, Grant Park, Millennium Park, and the Chicago skyline. The sleek and modern design of the building, coupled with its luxury amenities, makes it a desirable place to live in.

Praised as an “Instant Landmark” by the Chicago Tribune architectural critic, NEMA CHICAGO was envisioned by Rafael Viñoly to complement Chicago’s revered pantheon of American high-rises. Designed by the renowned Rockwell Group, NEMA’s interiors are sustainably-crafted and locally inspired. The city’s tallest rental residence, NEMA rises to 76 stories above Grant Park and boasts unprecedented views of South Loop, Downtown Chicago, Lake Michigan, and the Park. NEMA Chicago has been recognized with the “Best Tall Building | 200-299 Meters” 2021 Award of Excellence as well as the “Best Tall Building | Americas” 2021 Audience Award by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat!

Another personal favorite is WATER TOWER RESIDENCES at 180 E Pearson, where I’ve sold many homes, including six condos that were transformed from their 1970’s style into stunning custom residences. This remarkable building embodies luxury living, with its prime location, breathtaking views, and premier amenities.

340 ON THE PARK at 340 E Randolph offers the most beautiful views in Chicago and where I’ve had the pleasure to sell several homes. The panoramic vistas of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago skyline are simply unparalleled.

I also have a soft spot for the MARINA TOWERS and it’s incredible history. This iconic duo of round towers is visually striking, and it’s not just their distinctive shape that sets them apart – Marina Towers also carry an important legacy of architectural innovation. If these towers captivate you as they do me, I’d recommend this intriguing 1965 documentary on Marina Towers on YouTube.

Chicago and its high-rises are inextricably linked, with towers of glass and concrete that serve as silent narrators of the city’s vibrant tales of people and life. These architectural marvels are more than just places to live; they’re the stages upon which the stories of our lives unfold.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of making your home in the clouds amidst these awe-inspiring buildings, I invite you to explore our comprehensive list of MLS listings. Here, you can see the wealth of opportunities available right now for high-rise living in the heart of Chicago.

Alternatively, if you’d appreciate a personal touch in your search, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. It would be my pleasure to assist you in finding your dream home, high above the city streets, where the birds sing their morning serenades. Let’s take that journey together, ascending towards the sky to find your own piece of Chicago’s magnificent skyline!

A Bird’s Eye View:
Glimpses from Chicago’s Sky-High Residences

Views From Chicago Residential Buildings - Downtown Chicago