Xerox Center / Chicago, Illinois/ 1977‑1980
Size: 880,000 sq ft / 81,750 sq m
Height: 40 floors; 449 ft / 137 m
Status: Completed 1980
Recognition: Progressive Architecture Design Citation; AIA Chicago Chapter Award
Upon its completion in 1980, Xerox Center became Jahn’s first high-rise structure. The building is located along the prominent Dearborn-Clark corridor that has defined the architectural legacy of Chicago with significant office buildings and public spaces.
The corner site at 55 W. Monroe St. presented the opportunity for a strong landmark to join this iconic stretch of Dearborn Street that includes the Chicago Federal Center, Inland Steel Building, First National Bank, and Richard J. Daley Center. The Xerox Center sets itself apart from its significant neighbors with a 45-foot radius curve that defines the corner of the tower. The curved form pays reverence to Louis Sullivan’s nearby Carson Pire Scott building, in addition to Erich Mendelsohn’s Schocken in Chemnitz, Germany. The curving transition between the two sides of the Xerox Center symbolically suggests its treatment as a single front.
The sleekness of the form is complemented by a smooth façade of aluminum and silvery double-glazing. The precision of the façade is on full display and was made possible by prefabricated elements. Wider spandrels prevent unwanted solar gain along the east elevation, while the north façade fills the space with ambient light. A 20-foot setback along Dearborn Street preserves the grandiosity of this urban corridor and guides the public space into recessed forecourts, which mark the entrance.