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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

BP Bridge, Prudential Plaza and Smurfit-Stone Building

Two Prudential Plaza is a skyscraper that was built in Chicago in 1990. At 995 feet (303 m) tall, it is the fifth-tallest building in Chicago and the tenth tallest in the United States. The building was designed by the firm Loebl, Schlossman & Hackl, with Stephen T. Wright as the principal in charge of design. It has also been honored with 8 awards. At the time of completion Two Prudential was the world's second tallest reinforced concrete building. Its distinctive shape features stacked chevron setbacks on the north & south sides, a pyramidal peak rotated 45°, and an 80-foot spire.

One Prudential Plaza (formerly known as the Prudential Building), a 44 story structure facaded in vertical strips of limestone and ridged alumininum, was completed in 1955 as the headquarters for Prudential's Mid-America company. At the time, the skyscraper , desisgned by Naess & Murphy was significant as the first new downtown skyscraper built in Chicago in 21 years since the Field Building, now headquarters of LaSalle Bank, in 1934. When the Prudential was finished it had the highest roof in Chicago with only the statue of Ceres on the Chicago Board of Trade higher.

Now simply called 150 N. Michigan Ave, the Smurfit-Stone Building is a 41 story, 575 foot skyscraper. It is also known as the Stone Container Building and was formerly called the Associates Center. It is popularly referred to as the Diamond Building. Construction began in 1983 and was completed in 1984. The building, noted for its unusually slanted roof, was designed by Sheldon Schlegman of A. Epstein and Sons. Its 41 floors does not include five unused levels in the narrowest portion at the very peak of the diamond. Although the building looks as though it is split down the middle, the two sides are only slightly disjointed until nearing the top, where there is a gap between them. At times, its slanted roof--which has been likened to a skyscraper slashed with a knife--displays local sports anthems on its face, such as "GO BEARS" and "GO CUBS". A popular urban legend states that the building was designed to resemble a vagina, but a spokesperson for the architectural firm that designed the building denied that it was supposed to be an anti-phallic symbol. Three years after it's completion, the building played a central role in Touchstone Pictures hit film, Adventures in Babysitting. Thus, many Chicagoans refer to this building as the Adventures in Babysitting building.

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