lake point tower


From Left to Right: 

Eggers & Higgins and Irwan Clavan, Gateway Center, Typical Plan, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / John Heinrich and Georges Schipporeit, Lake Point Tower, Typical Floor Plan, First Scheme, Chicago, Illinois, 1967 

Communal Dwelling for Children, First Floor Plan, New Llano, Louisiana, 1918-1923 / James Wyatt, Fonthill Abbey, Plan, Wiltshire, England, 1795-1807

Lake Point Tower

Lake Point Tower is a high-rise residential building located on a promontory of the Lake Michigan lakefront in downtown Chicago, just north of the Chicago River at 505 North Lake Shore Drive. It is located in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. It rises somewhat apart from the urban cluster of downtown Chicago in a composition that sets off and punctuates the skyline. The building is also the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago east of Lake Shore Drive.


The architects for Lake Point Tower were John Heinrich and George Schipporeit, working under the firm name of Schipporeit and Heinrich; the two were students of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Lake Point Tower was completed in 1968, is approximately 645 feet (197 m) tall, and was the tallest apartment building in the world at that time. The project developer was William F. Hartnett, Jr., chairman and founder of Hartnett-Shaw Development Company, which was responsible for more than 260 residential and commercial real estate developments in the United States from 1961–1983.


Lake Point Tower was inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s 1922 design for a glass-curtained skyscraper in Berlin. Schipporeit and Heinrich took van der Rohe’s unbuilt office building concept and converted it to a residential building. Lake Point Tower is much taller than van der Rohe’s original project, more regular in form, and its exterior glass curtain wall is tinted; however, the building owes much of its innovative design to the van der Rohe original.

Because of its height and the fact that Lake Point Tower sits on the shore of Lake Michigan, the residential skyscraper had to be designed to withstand high winds. At the center of the building is a triangular core that is 59 feet across in length, which contains nine elevators and three stairwells. This core also holds all of the vertical weight of the building. Because of this, the perimeter pillars on the facade do not need to be large as they only have to bear the horizontal loads.

Radiating from the core are three arms, which form an asymmetrical Y-shaped floor plan. The original plan for the building was to be a four-armed design but was later changed to a three-armed design (120° apart) with the outer walls strategically curved to ensure that the various residents could not see into the other condominiums.The façade of the building is a curtain of bronze-tinted glass framed by gold-anodized aluminum, which reflects the sunlight off of Lake Michigan and looks golden.