Harbor Point

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Harbor Point Tower in Chicago.

Most people confuse Harbor Point Tower with its more famous look-alike Lake Point Tower. Both towers have triangle shape, graceful curves and black Ludwig Mies van der Rohe style windows.

Lake Point Tower was completed in 1968 and Harbor Point Tower was finished 4 years later in 1972.

Different architects. Lake Point Tower was designed by John Heinrich and George Schipporeit. And Harbor Point Tower was a creation of John Buenz. But obviously both teams were unapologetic devotees of Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe architectural school of “less is more” minimalism.

Interesting fact about Harbor Point Tower. Lake Point Tower boasts the title of the only building east of Lake Shore Drive. There is an old law on the books that no private property can be built on the Chicago lakefront.

Harbor Point Tower used to be another building east of Lake Shore Drive. As you can see these towers do have a lot in common.

So, what happened, you may ask? Did the building move? No, the road did.

Back in the days Lake Shore Drive used to continue its straight line as it went along the harbor up to the Chicago River. Then it made a sharp 90-degrees right turn along the river and another 90-degrees left turn into the bridge. It was the infamous Lake Shore Drive Z-curve, the cause of many accidents and traffic slowdowns. Pretty bad urban design indeed.

But that technically put Harbor Point Tower east of Lake Shore Drive.

Only in 1986 Lake Shore Drive was redesigned and it got the smooth curve we know now. But that put Harbor Point Tower west of Lake Shore Drive. Only Lake Point Tower is on the other side now.

The short name for Lake Shore Drive is LSD. And I must say it made a pretty psychedelic trip with Harbor Point Tower.