Living with the Trump is easy: it’s one of my favorite buildings.
A new skyscraper goes up and sometimes only indifference follows. Another modern glass building with a gazillion stories? To design something distinctive but not wacky is a challenge. This the architect of the Trump, Adrian Smith, managed.
Without being overtly postmodern, the Trump is so in that it co-exists harmoniously with other buildings. Look at it, and you’ll see “echoes” of other Chicago buildings you know. It echoes the wedge shape of the Wrigley Building, while working the same stacked, stepped-back look as the Sears (now Willis Tower). The groove running all the way down its west side (in the photo above) is an echo of the Wrigley Building, too.
The Trump also looks great in combination with its immediate neighbor, the black IBM Building, a strictly late-modern Mies van der Rohe design. Both buildings have the sheer curtain wall of glass that Mies pioneered, and both employ similar rectangular elements to break up the monotony of their facades.
At the same time, the Trump’s great curved corner, with its pronounced horizontal banding, pays subtle homage to the famous towers of Marina City. The Trump’s refusal to be rectangular, or to conform to any single geometrical shape at all, firmly declares its independence from that earlier, more rigid, style of building.
For all its neighborliness, the Trump Tower stands out for its dazzlingly great individual beauty. Its gorgeous silver-grey glass, which glows with the changing colors of light, teams with the building’s premier location at a crucial focal point along the Chicago River to ensure the Tower’s status as the latest, greatest star in Chicago architecture now.
Top image: The Trump Tower seen from Wacker Drive, flanked by the IBM Building (left) and the Wrigley Building (right).
Click here to see a time-lapse video of the 92-story Trump Tower being built.