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Tribune Tower
L imes tone Fac ade Inves t i gat i on and Repa i r
New York architects Raymond Hood and John Mead Howells won the 1922 international design competition for the Chicago Tribune Tower, which
has become one of the city’s most notable historic landmarks. The Tribune Company has engagedWJE to work on a variety of projects to restore and
maintain the building’s appearance, beginning with a multi-year exterior restoration of the highly ornamental, buttressed limestone facade that was
completed in 1999. In 2001 and 2005, theWJE Difficult Access Team performed inspections of the limestone exterior, using rope-descent techniques to
access the many complex profiles of the building facade.
WJE work on the landmark Tribune Tower has returned this Chicago icon to its historic appearance. A revolutionary facade cleaning system,
imported from France and used for the first time in the United States on the Tribune Tower, was significant to the successful completion of this
Notes of Interest
• The Tribune Tower is the home of the Chicago Tribune and
the Tribune Company. WGN Radio also broadcasts from the
building, with ground-level studios overlooking nearby
Pioneer Court and Michigan Avenue.
• Prior to the building of the Tribune Tower, correspondents
for the Chicago Tribune brought back rocks and bricks
from a variety of historic sites throughout the world at the
request of Colonel Robert McCormick. Many have been
incorporated into the exterior of the building and labeled
with their location of origin. Stones included in the wall
are from such sites as the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon,
the Great Pyramid, the Alamo, Notre-Dame Cathedral,
Abraham Lincoln’s tomb, the Great Wall of China, and the
BerlinWall, among others. In all, there are 136 fragments
in the building. More recently, NASA loaned a piece of
moon rock to be displayed in a window. A piece of steel
recovered from theWorld Trade Center is another recent
addition to the wall.
• The tower’s site was chosen for its proximity to the old
printing plant, which was built in 1916 and still stands on
the east side of the tower.
WJE 50 Years