The Smurfit Building, Chicago IL


Did you know that this skyscraper is the one chicagoans make more jokes about? Despite it, its shape is among their favorite in the Skyline!

The Smurfit-Stone Building is a 41-story skyscraper with a total height of 582 foot – 177 meter. Its privileged location at the magnificent Michigan Avenue on the corner of Millennium Park gives great visibility and highlights its original and uncommon shape: The slanted diamond roof. Designed by Epstein and Sons its construction began in 1983 and was completed in less than a year!


View from “The Bean” in Millennium Park


Smurfit’s back and amazing view over Millenium Park

The Smurfit is an office building cleverly designed according to its context: the service cores are rotated 45 degress from the street grid, producing diagonally-oriented office floorplans to take advantage of the extraordinary southeast views over Millennium Park. Who wouldn’t like to work there with such an inspiring cityscape?  Although the best office space would be in the pent house the five top floors are actually unused, they hold the facilities and the HVAC equipment.

But why this building stands out so much?

ImageChicago Skyline with the diamond outlined with white light bulbs

Because from its diamond shaped roof the building started to be referred as “The Vagina Building” from the locally popular but apocryphal story that, with its prominent vertical slit up the front, the building was designed to be a feminine counter to the phallicism of most skyscrapers. At night is highlighted with an outline of white light bulbs, and around holidays they are replaced with coloured lights depending on the festivity: orange-Thanksgiving, green/red-Christmas, pink-Valentine’s day…


The famous diamond slanted roof

Although the building looks as though it is split down the middle, the two sides are only slightly disjointed until nearing the top where there is a gap between them. At times, its slanted roof – which has been likened to a skyscraper slashed with a knife – displays local sports slogans on its face, such as “GO BEARS” or “GO SOX”

Despite all popular jokes the Smurfit Building really gives a beautifully feminine touch to the city and this original shape enriches even more the architectural variety of Chicago’s Skyline. What do you think?


Hope you plan a visit and enjoy the experience! We would love to see and share your pictures and anecdotes with the Skyliner community 😉

Safe travels!!


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