The 521-foot-high building is sometimes called "The Inverted Spyglass" by Chicagoans due to its highly unusual design, a 21-story octagonal tower atop a more conventional 20-story rectangular "box." Briefly the tallest building in Chicago at the time of its completion in 1928, it remains the city's most slender high-rise structure at only 100 by 65 feet at its base. The interior space within the upper octagonal spire contains the least square footage per floor of any Chicago skyscraper.
It was designed by Herbert Hugh Riddle (1875–1939), the architect of the Chicago Theological Seminary, as headquarters for the Mather Stock Car Company, a builder of rail cars for transporting livestock. Its design was greatly influenced by the pioneering Chicago Zoning Ordinance of 1923, which placed no limit on the height of new buildings as long as the surface area of the structure's uppermost floor did not exceed 25% of its footprint. This resulted in a multitude... Read More