680 North Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL

Vertical Access was retained by Klein and Hoffman to document existing conditions of the building’s terra cotta pyramidal roof and spires to assist with the development of repair recommendations.

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Building description

680 N. Lake Shore Drive is a steel and reinforced-concrete framed building clad in brick with stone and terra cotta ornament. Its west façade consists of an 8-story tower atop a 21-story base. The tower is topped with a pyramidal roof and cupola clad in blue and gold terra cotta. The interior of the steel-framed roof is fireproofed with hollow clay tile. Each of the four corners at roof level features a gothic spire of terra cotta glazed to match the limestone ornament on lower elevations of the building.

Originally known as the American Furniture Mart, the 2.2 million square-foot building was constructed in two sections. The concrete-framed eastern section was designed by Henry Raeder Associates, George C. Nimmons & Co., and N. Max Dunning and completed in 1924. The steel-framed western portion, including the tower, was designed by Nimmons and Dunning and completed in 1926.

Scope of work

  • Performed a hands-on investigation, close visual survey and hammer-sounding of all four façades of the pyramidal terra cotta roof, cupola and corner spires using industrial rope access.
  • Identified and documented terra cotta units meeting criteria for replacement.
  • Documented representative and notable conditions observed on the exterior by means of still photographs hyperlinked to annotated AutoCAD drawings, with quantities provided for each prioritized condition.

Building owner

  • Golub & Company

In collaboration with