Tribune Tower, Chicago

2023 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse

The Tribune Tower, completed in 1925, is one of Chicago’s most treasured landmarks, and the adaptive reuse project converted the historic tower and its original printing plant, radio and television buildings into a broad range of residences. The public will continue to take pride in the Tribune Tower’s architectural beauty and global storytelling, and now residents will live in a unique piece of history. The design team was committed to retaining the identity of the building, preserving and restoring historic elements like the limestone façade and iconic Chicago Tribune sign, and creating historically sensitive and innovative modifications for a modern residential experience.

(Photo credit: Dave Burk)


Project Principals

  • Design Architect and Architect of Record: Steve Hubbard, Lead Designer Solomon Cordwell Buenz
  • Developer: Lee Golub, Executive Vice President Golub & Company
  • Developer: Brad Aaronson, Managing Director CIM Group
  • Historic Preservation: Philip Hamp, Principal Vinci Hamp Architects
  • Interior Designer: Ryan Schommer, Director The Gettys Group Companies
  • Structural Engineer: Roger Reckers, Principal TGWRA
  • MEP Engineer: Matthew Swanson, Principal Elara Engineering
  • Vertical Transportation: Ray Volk, Vice President Jenkins & Huntington
  • Exterior Enclosure: Tony Cinnamon, Associate Principal WJE
  • Façade Restoration Engineer: Mike Naponelli, Senior Associate Klein & Hoffman
  • Exterior Lighting Design: Jim Baney, Partner Schuler Shook
  • Landscape Architect: Brad McCauley, Managing Principal site design group
  • Landscape Architect: Hallie Boyce, Partner OLIN
  • General Contractor: Brian Lucas, Senior Project Manager Walsh Group

(Photo credit: Dave Burk)


*Above list is provided by nominators. Don’t see your company listed but worked on this project? Let us know! Email lwills (at)


Chris Pemberton, Solomon Cordwell Buenz

For nearly a century, the Tribune Tower has been an international symbol for Chicago, a beacon for the democratic value of a free press and served as an anchor for the Magnificent Mile retail corridor. The Tribune Tower contributes to the public realm with its architectural beauty and global storytelling and as a flanking structure on Pioneer Court. This public plaza is activated year-round with dynamic community and important civic events. The competition to design the 1922 Tribune Tower set forth to accomplish a three-fold objective: Commemorate 75 years of journalistic achievement, enhance civic beauty (more specifically, secure for Chicago the most beautiful office building in the world) and inspire present and future generations of newspaper publishers.


(Photo credit: Dave Burk)


Chris Pemberton, Solomon Cordwell Buenz

The residents of the building reap the benefits of living in an iconic piece of Chicago and world history. In terms of public benefit, the building’s exterior architecture and adjoining plaza revitalize the urban fabric along the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue. Pioneer Court, a redeveloped public plaza adjacent to the building, offers year-round activations by artists, organizations and civic events, and the restored lobby is open to the public. Construction and preservation work created significant job opportunities, and the redesigned retail spaces contributed to the area’s economic vitality. Perhaps most important to the broader Chicago community is the intangible effect of bolstering civic pride and promoting a great and time-honored symbol of Chicago.

The Tribune Tower is a successful case study for the increasing demand for adaptive reuse, particularly as it relates to adding residential units and public realm benefits to an urban core during a time of disruption, post-pandemic.

From a sustainability standpoint, the project utilizes water from the nearby Chicago River for mechanical cooling, eliminating the need for a cooling tower and avoiding added energy use.


(Photo: Historic elevator door being replicated)

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