Baby, there's a shark near the water: The blade-edged Swissotel still looks sharp after 20+ years
Forgive me for paraphrasing that great VV Brown tune in the above headline. I was strolling around Wacker east of Michigan yesterday when I admired again the sublime, blade-like coolness of the Swissotel; a silvery architectural dorsal fin right at the edge of the Chicago River.
Completed in 1989, the silvery 45-story hotel is the work of the late, great Chicago architectural icon Harry Weese. The hotel--much like Weese skyscraper jail, the slit-windowed Metropolitan Correctional Center at Clark and Van Buren--is a three-sided building, rather than a four-sided box. Located 323 E. Wacker Drive, the Swissotel was a late addition to the predominantly 1970s-era Illinois Center complex. But looking at it now, the building is a transition between the old Miesian boxes next door and the sleek new generation of buildings that were to come to the area, such as the neighboring Aqua Tower, and nearby Blue Cross/Blue Shield building at Columbus and Randolph.
The building is skinned in opaque and reflective glass that nicely mirror the city around it. You can see the Wrigley Building, the modernist 401 N. Michigan Ave., and Trump Tower reflected in this portion of the hotel's base.
If somebody out there is compiling a roster of the city's future architectural landmarks, here's hoping they add this one to the list.