311 South Wacker Drive
311 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois (9179394139).jpg
General information
Location311 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois
Construction started1988
Architectural292.9 m (961 ft)[1]
Roof293 m (961 ft)
Top floor256.8 m (843 ft)[1]
Technical details
Floor count65[1]
Floor area1,400,000 sq ft (130,000 m2)[2]
Design and construction
Architect(s)Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
DeveloperGerald Kostelny/Lincoln Property Company
Main contractorJ.A. Jones Construction Construction Manager was Harbour Contractors, inc.

311 South Wacker Drive is a post-modern 65-story skyscraper located in Chicago, Illinois, and completed in 1990. At 961 feet (293 m) tall, it is the ninth-tallest building in Chicago and the 36th tallest in the United States. It was once the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world. 311 South Wacker was also the tallest building in the world known only by its street address, until it was surpassed in height by New York's 432 Park Avenue in 2015.[3][4]

The lower level of the winter garden was designed for a possible connection via underground passageway to Chicago Union Station. The building also contains three levels of underground parking. The building contains both retail and commercial tenants.[5]


The lobby is a two-level (one below ground) 85-foot (26 m)-tall glass-ceilinged "winter garden." It used to have palm trees, still has a fountain, and is supported by a steel structure influenced by the Chicago "L" tracks and bridges. It was envisioned as a commuter link or "pedestrian station" serving as a connection from the nearby Union Station through a disused streetcar tunnel under the South Branch of the Chicago River.[6] Raymond Kaskey's bronze sculpture "Gem of the Lakes" looks over the garden from the Wacker entrance. The fountain shell form is taken from the city seal with a heroic figure representing Chicago as the "city of broad shoulders" wearing a cape symbolic of the great engineering feat which reversed the flow of Chicago River.[6]


CNA's building illuminated to reflect Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 311 South Wacker Drive can be seen in the left, with the top portion brightly illuminated.
CNA's building illuminated to reflect Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 311 South Wacker Drive can be seen in the left, with the top portion brightly illuminated.

The top of the building is a 105-foot (32 m)-tall translucent cylinder, surrounded by four other smaller cylinders, which was inspired by the massing of the Tribune Tower. This makes it among the most visible Chicago skyscrapers at night, as its crown is brightly illuminated. The five cylinders on top are lit at night by 1,852 fluorescent tubes, and a lantern at the top changes colors for various holidays and special events.


311 South Wacker is surrounded to the northwest by a grassy area, commonly used as a lounging and public lunch area during warm months, which is the largest area of green space in the Chicago Loop. This park is used to host local farmer markets, musical events, and various art and cultural festivals. To the southwest is a parking lot.[7] This land was originally to be occupied by two companion towers that were never developed due to office market conditions.

Position in Chicago's skyline

311 South WackerWillis TowerChicago Board of Trade Building111 South WackerAT&T Corporate CenterKluczynski Federal Building333 South WabashChase TowerThree First National PlazaMid-Continental PlazaRichard J. Daley CenterChicago Title and Trust Center77 West WackerPittsfield BuildingLeo Burnett BuildingThe Heritage at Millennium ParkCrain Communications BuildingIBM PlazaOne Prudential PlazaTwo Prudential PlazaAon CenterBlue Cross and Blue Shield Tower340 on the ParkPark TowerOlympia Centre900 North Michigan875 North Michigan AvenueWater Tower PlaceHarbor PointThe ParkshoreNorth Pier ApartmentsLake Point TowerJay Pritzker PavilionBuckingham FountainLake MichiganLake MichiganLake MichiganThe skyline of a city with many large skyscrapers; in the foreground is a green park and a lake with many sailboats moored on it. Over 30 of the skyscrapers and some park features are labeled.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "311 South Wacker Drive - The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02.
  2. ^ "311 South Wacker - Property Information". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  3. ^ Sudo, Chuck (November 28, 2016). "The Forgotten History Of Chicago Supertalls: Everything You Need To Know About 311 South Wacker". Bisnow.com. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  4. ^ emporis.com 311 South Wacker
  5. ^ David Ibata, S. Wacker Skyscraper Launching chicagotribune.com October 21, 1986
  6. ^ a b "311 South Wacker Drive, Chicago". Archived from the original on 2007-02-06.
  7. ^ Google (3 March 2016). "South Wacker Drive" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 3 March 2016.

Coordinates: 41°52′40″N 87°38′08″W / 41.87778°N 87.63556°W / 41.87778; -87.63556