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Lake Point Tower

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Lake Point Tower


Structure in General

existing [completed]
caisson foundation
curtain wall
international style


residential condominium
shop(s) restaurant parking


  • Tallest all-residential building in the world from 1968 until 1993, when Tregunter 3 was completed in Hong Kong.
  • Lake Point Tower was finally surpassed as the tallest all-residential building in Chicago in June 2003 when 55 East Erie was topped out.
  • On top of the building there is a circular penthouse occupied by a restaurant. The restaurant floor does not revolve.
  • Lake Point Tower was the first commission its architects ever received.
  • The design was influenced by a visionary skyscraper for Berlin drawn in 1922 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
  • The architects were recognized with an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1970.
  • The building's design influenced two other residential towers on Chicago's lakefront: Harbor Point and Park Tower Condominiums.
  • Other Lake Point Towers can be found in Bangkok, North Palm Beach, and Hallandale Beach, but they all look very different from this one.
  • Lake Point Tower is located on the peninsula which leads into Navy Pier, one of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions.
  • Lake Point Tower is the only tall building in Chicago east of Lake Shore Drive; a city ordinance prohibits construction of any others. Harbor Point and 400 East Randolph were also east of the Drive before the highway was shifted eastward.
  • The entrance is a driveway which crosses underneath the pedestal into a circular opening that frames an upward view of the tower.
  • On the third floor a Thomas McGlynn sculpture titled 'The Word' commemorates the fact that there were no fatalities during the building's construction.
  • The structural/elevator core at the center is triangular.
  • Every window of every residential unit in the building has a view of Lake Michigan.
  • The building's curves were calculated so residents cannot see into each other's windows.
  • The three arms are equally spaced at 120 degree angles.
  • Original plans called for four rounded lobes, but the final plan was more economical to construct.
  • The window mullions are spaced precisely so that they disappear from the point of view of a person standing right at the glass.
  • To perfect the uninterrupted simplicity of the tower's facade, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems were hidden in the fixed window sashes.
  • The original plan was to construct identical towers to the east and west of Lake Point Tower, with three total.
  • The architects persuaded the developer to build a taller building than originally intended, to leave room for more park space around it.
  • The roof of the building's west podium holds the 2.5 acre Skyline Park, which features a duck pond, waterfall, playground, and wooded trails.
  • Landscape architect Alfred Caldwell designed gardens for the entire roof of the pedestal, but the small section east of the tower was never developed.
  • World's tallest reinforced concrete building from 1968 until 1971, when it was surpassed by One Shell Plaza in Houston.
  • When it opened this building contained the highest residences above ground level in the world, although it was surpassed a year later by the 875 North Michigan Avenue a few blocks away.
  • This is by far the shortest building in the world with 70-plus floors; the next-shortest is Circle on Cavill (North Tower) in Gold Coast City, Australia.
  • Baseball slugger Sammy Sosa is a former resident of this building.
  • A few apartments in the building were formerly used as temporary housing for actors working in Chicago, including Anthony Quinn, Tom Cruise, Dolly Parton, and Tom Selleck.
  • The condominium conversion in 1988 was, at the time, the largest ever in the United States in terms of property value.
  • At the time of the conversion there were 875 units. Since then, the number of residences has dropped to 758 as owners have combined units into larger homes.

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More Information


505 North Lake Shore Drive
500 North Streeter Drive, 542 East Illinois Street, 543 East Grand Avenue
505 North Lake Shore Drive
Near North Side

Technical Data

645.01 ft
645.01 ft
645.01 ft
Oct 1965

Involved Companies

Graham, Anderson, Probst & White

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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