July 12, 2022
Project #1 in our Centennial Year celebration of our Top 100 Projects is the iconic 41-story, 714,000 square foot Crain Communications Building located on the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street in Chicago.
Completed in 1984, the Epstein designed and engineered building is situated at the entrance to Chicago's downtown area and was designed to maximize views of the city's spectacular lakefront. The sloped atrium at the upper third of the building and the total southeast corner have been canted 45 degrees to provide one-of-a-kind views of the lake as well as Millennium Park, Burnham Harbor and Grant Park.
The building's curtain wall consists of alternating bands of white aluminum, stainless steel, and silver reflecting glass. These materials create an arresting structure, constantly changing in appearance as the sun traverses it during the day. At night, the illuminated apex emphasizes the building's crystalline qualities.
At the time of completion, the building was considered technologically cutting edge as it was equipped with state-of-the-art, computer-controlled systems for HVAC, energy management, fire protection, security and elevators. It is one of the first major commercial buildings with a building management system using high-precision, industrial-quality microprocessors to ensure efficient use of energy and precise control over the building's environment.
This building was not always known as the Crain Communication Building; it was only named that in 2012 after the Crain Communications claimed the building as its headquarters. When the building was in initial development it was known by its address – 150 N. Michigan, then for a brief time while it was being marketed by the developers, Collins Tuttle and Company, it was known as One Park Place. Once the Associates Commercial Corp. signed as a major tenant to the building it was renamed The Associates Center upon opening. In the 90s, the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation became the major tenant and also gained the naming rights for the building, changing the name of the structure to the Smurfit-Stone Building, the name it was known by until 2012.
Lastly, the Crain Communications Building has featured in a number of high-profile movies including Transformers: Dark of the Moon but most notably in 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting in which the dramatic sloped façade is used in the film’s climatic chase scene.