A Chicago Landmark: The Carbide and Carbon Building

Carbide and Carbon Building

Carbide and Carbon Building's Beginning

In 1929, the Burnham Brothers, sons of the influential Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, completed the building. Located at 230 N. Michigan Ave., the Carbide and Carbon Building is central to The Loop which offers eclectic eateries, shops, theaters, and parks. Originally, the building was the regional headquarters for Union Carbide, a New York based company known for the invention of the dry-cell battery. According to a 1932 promotional booklet, the company wanted a “Distinctive and perpetual advertisement for its occupants.”

Going on to say, “The effect of such beauty in a building upon the morale of the people employed in its unquestionably beneficial and inspiring; and to clients, business associates, and visitors, it is a constant assurance that the organization they are dealing with are [sic] of the highest calibre.”

The building is forty stories high and considered to be the first skyscraper to extensively use color in its exterior facade. The building offers guests an authentic Chicago experience, exhibits the beautiful Art Deco style which was popular during the 1920’s. 

The building utilizes dark granite at the base, deep green Terracotta on the tower, and real 24-karat gold leaf at the top. The real gold showcases the building’s opulence which is telling of the times and the extravagance from which the building emanates. The luxurious Art Deco style does not end there. Inside, the lobby features black Belgian marble and Art Deco bronze-work trim.

This is no ordinary building and stands out in Chicago’s skyline. A popular myth from the era, and to this day, is that the building resembles a champagne bottle. Some say this was the Burnham Brother’s way of protesting prohibition. 

Carbide and Carbon Building
1929 Construction in Progress

Carbide and Carbon Building
Through the Years

Over the years the building has gone through many changes while staying true to the Brother’s original vision. In 1996, the building became a Chicago landmark. Then, in 2004, the building opened its doors as the home of the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.

In 2007, the City of Chicago formally recognized the Carbide and Carbon Building’s contribution to the architecturally rich skyline by making it one of a few buildings permanently illuminated throughout the night…

“Its warm and sensuous materials make the Carbide and Carbon building unique among Chicago’s towering skyscrapers,” says Marcia Matavul, Chicago Architecture Firm Docent Class of 2008,  “Every tour I give where this Chicago landmark can be seen, a tour taker will ask about it. The Carbide and Carbon delights and awes.” 

Timeline of The Carbide and Carbon Building:

  • 1929: Construction completed by the Burnham Brothers.
  • 1996: The Carbide and Carbon Building designated a Chicago Landmark.
  • 2004: The Hard Rock Hotel opens in The Carbide and Carbon Building.
  • 2019: The St. Jane opens in The Carbide and Carbon Building.
Great People. Amazing Rooms. Beautiful Chicago.

Carbide and Carbon Building Today

Today, the Carbide and Carbon Building continues to dazzle and stand out in the Chicago skyline. After a run of 15 years as the Hard Rock Hotel, the building transitioned into what it is today: the St. Jane. Named after the illustrious and highly revered Jane Addams, the St. Jane exemplifies Chicago architecture from the past and present.

The building has undergone changes that powerfully restored and renovated the space in a way that would make its namesake proud. The Carbide and Carbon Building’s design serves as a beacon of community for a new generation of diverse and daring creators.

The deep green monolithic marble stone exterior and bright, brassy architectural metal ornamentation throughout moved the design team to juxtapose the masculine marvel with a feminine point of view, for an interior design, truly inspired by the architecture of the landmark Art Deco skyscraper. It is a design that reflects the hotel’s storied past with a bold look to the future.

Come enjoy our beautiful building, hotel and accommodations! 

Chicago Boutique Hotel | St. Jane
St. Jane Chicago Entrance Today

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