Built in 1972 as the corporate headquarters of Montgomery Ward & Co., The Montgomery is a 28-story tower designed by Minoru Yamasaki. It is one of only two Chicago buildings designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center in New York.
One of the building’s most unique features is its modernist look and design. The structure is braced at all four corners by concrete shear wall cores covered with travertine, making it impossible to install corner windows. The strong corners were designed to free up the interiors on each floor, creating wide open spaces without interrupting walls. For Montgomery Ward & Co., the lack of corner windows had the added benefit of eliminating employee arguments over corner offices.
The facade between the travertine corners originally was a bronzed glass and black aluminum curtain wall. In 2004, the tower was renovated by Chicago-based Centrum Properties, with contributions from Skidmore, Owens and Merrill and Pappageorge/Haymes. The facade was removed and replaced with blue-green tinted glass and brushed aluminum accents. The new curtain wall provides residents with floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular views of the Chicago skyline. Other highlights of the renovation include the addition of balconies to the building’s narrow lengths on the east and west sides and a 5-story circular parking ramp wrapped in glass.