Just a little while ago I was crossing Wacker Drive at State Street when I happened to look up and saw Trump Tower, and, much to my astonishment, it was kind of beautiful. (Sorry about the lousy photo, which I took with my BlackBerry once I was safely across the street.) At that intersection the building presents its most flattering profile: sculptural in a nautical way, with the techno-gleam of a fine German sedan. I’m used to seeing it from a few blocks to the west, where only the slender upper section shoots above Mies van der Rohe’s IBM Building, the views from which Trump’s 92-story building has effectively obliterated. Separated from its base, Adrian Smith’s building looks like a toothbrush travel case, although it may look less so once it’s complete. Our local Trump doesn’t have the stretch limo aesthetic of some of Trump’s New York buildings. I’ve been watching it under construction, and it looks sleek and aspirational–more Ivanka than Donald–and neither the troll I feared it would be nor an improvement over Naess and Murphy’s 1955 Sun-Times Building, which previously occupied that site. Now that it’s been topped off, it appears that, from one angle anyway, the Trump Tower is a distinguished building in its own right. It’s even exciting when the light hits it just right.
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