The 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, twin 26-story towers located in Chicago, are seen as legendary fixtures in the world of high-rise residential living and of modern architecture. Built in 1951 and designed by revolutionary architect Mies van der Rohe, the Lake Shore Apartments set a high standard for skyscraper construction.
It's easy to see why.
The towers are dubbed “glass houses,” mostly because of the architect's use of glass windows from floor to ceiling. This style was considered unusual during its time. Most buildings didn't boldly emphasize steel and glass the way Rohe did.
At first glance, the Lake Shore towers exude a simplistic, pristine, yet structured feel. What's also eye-catching is how the twin towers are situated—46 feet apart and perpendicular to each other.
It's obvious Rohe envisioned the towers to speak for themselves. He wanted to evoke a “less is more” feel, a philosophy he followed during his early days as an architect.
Rohe's steel-on-glass designs served as an inspiration for his future projects. He also was the brainchild behind the famous Seagram Building in New York City, another steel and glass tower, built in 1958 in collaboration with fellow architect Philip Johnson. Rohe's steel skeletal-framed, glass-ensconced high-rise designs are mimicked by architects throughout the world, even to this day.