The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicagoist Wayback Machine: Buildings that Might have Been.

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Jun 30, 2007 3:00PM

06_30_winningdesign.jpgWe are fully aware that this weekend feature might as well be called "Chicagoist Likes Cool Old Buildings." We're fine with that. A couple weeks ago we focused on the changes - or a lack thereof - on Michigan Avenue at Wacker. Today we're taking a quick trip across the river - to the Tribune Building.

As a Chicago icon and part of architectural history, we're big fans of Colonel Robert McCormick's decision for what was erected along the riverfront, but sometimes we're curious about what might have been. And as it turns out, they ranged from the strikingly modern, to pretty damned ancient.

The design process was a contest, with winning architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood's plan immortalized on the skyline til' the end of time - plus a purse of $50k. The second design below looks a lot like the Sky Bridge high rise on the side of the Kennedy at Halsted, interesting because the original design below is circa 1923. But pyramids? Really? There certainly was a lot of Egyptology hype around that era - imagine the iPhone, but for something dead and 3000 years old.

If you've never walked past the building, there are over 130 fragments of famous buildings and locations from over 50 countries. We're bigger fans of the fact that if tourists want to stand and gape at the majesty of the building, you can do so in the nice big plaza next to the building - people with things to do and Gucci to buy can continue to powerwalk down the avenue.

If you've never graced the lobby of the Trib Tower (at least one Chicagoista has had their picture taken there for the Red Eye's "Five On Five" feature), there are a number of famous quotations laid into the wall to match the majesty of the exterior. Tribune Tower - we salute you. Hey, Sam Zell - please don't change its name. Okay? I'm sure "Zell Tower" sounds good to you, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Images courtesy of "Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis" by Harold Mayer and Richard Wade. Emails to