An Architectural Guide to the South Loop

October 03, 2013

South Loop

While most visitors to Chicago will focus their architectural wandering to the core business district, the South Loop has all kinds of architectural highlights. From historic hotels and districts to the vertical campus of Roosevelt University, the South Loop is worth a wander.

First of all, when we say “South Loop” we are talking about the area south of the elevated tracks that “loop” around downtown. The South Loop has become a center for educational buildings. To start, Columbia College buildings on Michigan Avenue are early 1900s office buildings with refined details, like a mansard roof. Their campus on 11th Street is housed in the former Chicago Women’s Club Building. For this 1929 structure, architects Holabird and Roche opted for the modern, sleek lines of the art deco style. At 1104 S. Wabash, you’ll find the former Ludington Building, also part of Columbia College and one of the first all-steel structure building in history. Look at its form from the outside and you will clearly see the boxy outlines of its structure – it’s what architecture geeks call “structural honesty.”

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