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April 20, 2010

Ever since studying the works of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for my undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Toronto, I have been in love with the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive apartments. When I learned I was heading to Chicago to attend the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), the top item on my to-do list after hitting the show floor was to visit the historic buildings, completed in 1951 and designated a city landmark in 1996. I headed up the Magnificent Mile, veered east, and in the warmth and sunlight of a beautiful spring day in the Windy City, beheld the two curtain-walled towers. 

The 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe, as seen from Chicago's Lakefront Trail.
The 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe, as seen from Chicago's Lakefront Trail.
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Another view of the apartment buildings, with the John Hancock Tower peaking through in the distance.
Another view of the apartment buildings, with the John Hancock Tower peaking through in the distance.
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Near the base with the "N. Lake Shore Dr." street sign in view.
Near the base with the "N. Lake Shore Dr." street sign in view.
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The entrance to 880 Lake Shore Drive.
The entrance to 880 Lake Shore Drive.
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The view from 880 Lake Shore Drive to 860 Lake Shore Drive, with Lake Michigan in the not-so-far distance.
The view from 880 Lake Shore Drive to 860 Lake Shore Drive, with Lake Michigan in the not-so-far distance.
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The lobby of the 860 tower, furnished with Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chairs.
The lobby of the 860 tower, furnished with Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chairs.
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Looking up from the courtyard between the two apartment towers.
Looking up from the courtyard between the two apartment towers.
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The steel details of 880 Lake Shore Drive with the John Hancock in the background on a glorious spring afternoon in Chicago.
The steel details of 880 Lake Shore Drive with the John Hancock in the background on a glorious spring afternoon in Chicago.
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The view from the east side of the courtyard to the 880 tower, with hints of the apartment interiors through the above windows.
The view from the east side of the courtyard to the 880 tower, with hints of the apartment interiors through the above windows.
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The view from the west side of the courtyard near the 860 tower, looking back toward the 880 building, Lake Shore Drive, and Lake Michigan.
The view from the west side of the courtyard near the 860 tower, looking back toward the 880 building, Lake Shore Drive, and Lake Michigan.
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The covered courtyard between the two buildings.
The covered courtyard between the two buildings.
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The door mat to 860 Lake Shore Drive.
The door mat to 860 Lake Shore Drive.
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One of the most remarkable things to me about Chicago and its architecture is the juxtaposition of styles and materials. Here, the view from the southwest corner of the 860 tower.
One of the most remarkable things to me about Chicago and its architecture is the juxtaposition of styles and materials. Here, the view from the southwest corner of the 860 tower.
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Looking out toward the lake and 880 Lake Shore Drive from the base of the 860 tower.
Looking out toward the lake and 880 Lake Shore Drive from the base of the 860 tower.
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Four years after the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive apartments were completed in 1951, two more towers of Mies van der Rohe's design, the <a href="http://www.900910.com/completion.php">900-910 Lake Shore Drive apartments</a>, were built.
Four years after the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive apartments were completed in 1951, two more towers of Mies van der Rohe's design, the 900-910 Lake Shore Drive apartments, were built.
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Nearby, Mies van der Rohe Way.
Nearby, Mies van der Rohe Way.
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The 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe, as seen from Chicago's Lakefront Trail.
The 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe, as seen from Chicago's Lakefront Trail.

View the slideshow of images of the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive apartments.

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