IBM Images

At the prompting of Edward Lifson, I ventured over by the Sun-Times site and the Michigan Avenue Bridge to get some glimpses of the IBM Building in all its unobstructed glory.

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A temporary walkway over Wabash gives an open view of the cleared site.

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With the Sun-Times Building gone, the buildings across the River to the south are in full view. A similar view is what the plaza between the Sun-Times and Wrigley buildings afforded, along with sunlight and a place to sit and enjoy both the view and the sun.

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This is the view of the IBM Building between the two Wrigley towers.

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The "money shot" from the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Compare to the previous view with the Sun-Times Building and the future view with Trump Tower.

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View from Columbus Avenue a couple blocks east of Michigan Avenue.

As I was taking many of these photos, people around me were commenting on the circumstances. "Boy, that building's gonna cover that up!" and "Man, that's a big open site!" indicative of the power of the visual abyss now apparent on the banks of the River. It reminds me of the World Trade Center site, its void a powerful presence that in some ways begged to be left intact, uncluttered by towers. Here, the same argument can be made, but ironically we wouldn't have the current view and the impressive open space without the plans for Trump Tower and the concomitant demolition of the Sun-Times Building. Since Trump is moving ahead with his tower, all that can be achieved is perhaps a respectful re-shaping of his residential tower's mass to allow similar views along the River. And to achieve that maybe Trump needs to get out of his limo as it rides across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, look west, and appreciate the impact he's made without even having to build anything.

Update 03.18: The local CBS affiliate station has a news tidbit on the unobstructed view of the IBM Building. Unlike Edward Lifson's commentary, Channel 2 doesn't take a stand, if anything prepping people for the impending Trump Tower.


  1. John, well done. I was just at the site on this lovely Sunday night we're having. It's quite powerful at night when the IBM lobby is lit.
    As you stand on the Michigan Avenue bridge, it's clear that if we had enlightened planning we'd close Wabash, move Trump back from the river - to the northwest so it fills the empty space between the IBM and the Wrigley.
    **** Doing this we'd create a great plaza in front of the IBM - a' la Seagram's in New York City. But ours could slope or terrace down - all the way to the river. It'd even be a great amenity for Trump Tower, a huge plaza in front of it too. And his tenants would still have river views.
    That way we'd preserve the great view of the IBM building.
    And not overwhelm the Wrigley.
    A thoughtful design for that site would actually tie those two together - not hide one and mock the other by dwarfing it.
    Hey John, why don't Daley's planners see this? -Edward


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