Tallest Buildings in Chicago over 300m

Chicago is the hometown of skyscrapers, and also a renowned concrete jungle that filled with dozens of skyscrapers.

There were already 3 skyscrapers beyond 300 meters by roof height exist as early as 1970s, among them the Willis Tower had been the tallest building of the world for many decades until 1997 when Petronas Towers' spires surpassed it, and had been the tallest in America for a longer time until 2012 when One World Trade Center's antenna surpassed it. However, both One World Trade Center and Petronas Towers are lower than Willis Tower by roof height, which is a measurement that more favored by the majority of skyscraper enthusiasts. Willis Tower still ranks number one in America by roof height as of 2016.

The amount of Roof-height-supertalls in Chicago were always ahead of the other cities in America, including New York City before 2016. The completion of Chicago Trump Tower in 2009 makes the number of Roof-height-supertall rises to 4, much more than New York, which had only one building with a roof height higher than 300 meters by the same time.

As of 2016, Chicago has 27 buildings over 200m in height, the amount is just second of New York City in North America. And 6 over 300 meters by standard height. It is the only city that can be regarded as Concrete Jungle in America with the exception of New York City.

Skyline of Chicago, 4 Roofheight-supertalls can be easily picked out in the picture that much taller than the others.

But because of the Financial Crisis occurred many years ago, many great proposals for supertalls were cancelled one after the other due to the financial difficulties. Some of examples are Waterview Tower, Chicago World Trade Center and a more notable one,Chicago Spire, which was once considered likely to be the next tallest building of America and also features a nice and special design.
Since then there was no obvious development on skyscrapers in the city while a large number of cities around the world see the skyscraper construction booms.
Now the number of roof-height-supertalls in Chicago has been caught up by New York City since the completion of 432 park Ave, and will transcend by New York in several months and the disparity is likely to continue widening since there are numerous supertall skyscrapers planned in New York City.
Even so, the city's skyline is unique and attractive accompanied by a splendid natural scenery as the background, which is the view of blue and extensive Michigan lake, that is invincible and can be hardly replaced by other cities. With its unique cityscape Chicago has been chosen as the city where many stories take place at by numerous movies.
Not only that, in recent years some new supertalls have been proposed as the economy recovers, Chicago may once again receive a construction boom in several years.


1.  Willis Tower

Standard height: 442 meters

Total height: 527 meters

Built year: 1974

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Developer: Sears Holding Corp

Also known as its former name Sears Tower. Willis Tower was once the world's tallest building. The building has an observation deck on 103 floor at 412 meters high, it's still the highest observation deck in American, even the One World Observatory is lower than it.

Chicago Willis Tower
Willis Tower

2. Chicago Trump International Hotel & Tower

Standard height: 423 meters

Roof height: 356 meters

Built year: 2009

Architect: Adrian Smith (SOM)

Chicago Trump International Hotel & Tower is designed by Adrian Smith, who designed the famed Burj Khalifa. The building was developed by President Trump, it is also the tallest building ever developed by Trump. The building has also become a rallying point for anti-Trump protesters after Trump surprisingly elected to be the president.

Chicago Trump International Hotel & Tower
Chicago Trump International Hotel & Tower

3. Aon Center

Standard height: 346 meters

Roof height: 346 meters

Built year: 1973

Architect: Edward Durell Stone,  Perkins + Will

Developer: Standard Oil of Indiana

The building has been acquired by another cooperation in 2015, the new owner said they intend to build a muti-level observation deck on the 82th floor and 83 floor of the building, upon its opening, Chicago will become the city with 3 observation decks on skyscrapers that can be rarely found in the world, currently New York City and Shanghai are such kind of cities.

Chicago Aon Center
Aon Center

4. John Hancock Center

Standard height: 344 meters

Total height: 457 meters

Built year: 1969

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Developer: Jerry Wolman Associates

Nicknamed Big John, the building features a restaurant as well as an observation deck. Before the completion of Chicago Trump International Hotel & Tower, John Hancock Center had been having the highest residence in the world.

Chicago John Hancock Center
John Hancock Center

5. Franklin Center

Standard height: 307 meters

Roof height: 270 meters

Built year: 1989

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Developer: Stein & Company

Chicago Franklin Center
Franklin Center

6. Two Prudential Plaza

Standard height: 303 meters

Roof height: 279 meters

Built year: 1990

Architect: Loebl Schlossman Dart & Hackl

Developer: The Prudential Property

Chicago Two Prudential Plaza
Two Prudential Plaza











Under Construction:

Wanda Vista

Standard height: 361 meters

Estimated top out year: 2018

Architect: Studio Gang Architects

Developer: Wanda Group

The project is being developed by Wanda Group, a Chinese real estate development company, of which a spokeman said this is just the first tower they'll build in America, they will develop more such kind of buildings in New York City and San Francisco. The building may start to rise by the end of this year. Once built, it will become the second tallest building in the city by roof height.

Chicago Wanda Vista Tower
Rendering of Wanda Vista


1. Thompson Center Redevelopment

Adrian Smith version of Thompson Center
Adrian Smith version of Thompson Center

Height: 518 meters (conceptual)

Estimated top out year: unknown

Architect: Adrian Smith

Developer: unknown

If approved, Illinois Gov will sell the current Thompson Center which served as the state office to potential developers and transform it into a supertall, Adrian Smith has created a conceptual design for it after invited by the Gov. The Architect who designed the current Thompson Center also proposed a design in which the current building will be preserved. As the sale hasn't been approved, it's not clear what kind of design will be picked, but judged by the plot's location, it's pretty sure a supertall will be built there.

2. Related Midwest Tower

Height: above 305 meters

Architect: unknown

Developer: Related companies

After Chicago Spire was cancelled, this tower was then planned to be built on the site where the cancelled tower located. In 2016, the architect firm Gensler proposed a tower as tall as Chicago Spire for the plot, however as of now it is still seen as a vision.

3. Conservatory Live Aqua Hotel

Height: About 300 meters

4. Wolf Point South Tower

Standard height: above 300 meters

Roof height: above 280 meters

Architect: Cesar Pelli (Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects)

This building has been redesigned, a spire was added on the top, the height changed from the original 290 meters to 300 meters or more, making it a supertall, however the roof height seems just remain as before.

Chicago Wolf Point South Tower
A rendering of Wolf Point South Tower
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