Vertical Malls on the Magnificent Mile

The Shops at North Bridge

520 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
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Throughout October, Docomomo US/Chicago will be exploring Chicagoland’s fascinating history of shopping malls through a walking tour and a pair of virtual presentations.

North Michigan Avenue, nicknamed the “Magnificent Mile,” began life as a 1920s luxury shopping district, was revitalized beginning in the 1970s, and faces an uncertain future as the very concept of retail evolves. On Saturday, October 8, we will explore three urban malls that shaped the Magnificent Mile into what it is today.

Water Tower Place, designed by Chicago architects Loebl, Schlossmann, Bennett and Dart in 1975, was downtown Chicago’s answer to sprawling suburban malls. Towering 47 stories above North Michigan Avenue, Water Tower Place had seven stories of retail, two flagship department stores, restaurants, cinemas, condominium residences, and a luxury hotel.

900 North Michigan, built in 1989 on the site of a much-loved apartment building, was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox as an elegant exercise in restrained Postmodernism. Clad in limestone and granite and capped with four square lanterns, 900 North Michigan has a six-story atrium with stores and restaurants and upper stories of offices, a hotel, and condominiums.

North Bridge, opened in 2000, occupies an unusual site, with a mall atrium built on the air rights above Grand Avenue and leading from Michigan Avenue to the retail stores located one block west. North Bridge is also notable for dismantling the façade of a landmark Art Deco building and re-hanging the façade on a new building.

Join Docomomo US/Chicago to explore the history, design, evolution, and challenges facing each mall. The tour will be led by Justin Miller, architectural historian and Docomomo US/Chicago chapter chair. Following the tour, guests are invited to continue the conversation at Aster Hall with a cash bar.

Advance registration required

Free for Docomomo US members / $15 nonmembers

This event is part of Docomomo US Tour Day 2022.

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