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By air and by car to Outer Drive East, 400 East Randolph, Chicago

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Uploaded on Jun 19, 2011

When it was completed in 1963, the 40-story, 955-unit Outer Drive East was the world's largest apartment building, the only residential building east of Michigan Ave in Chicago's Loop, and the only Loop high-rise east of One Prudential Plaza. It was also a triumph of Chicago politics: Mayor Richard J. Daley instructed the city planning department to do "everything possible" to make the development happen on land previously zoned for commercial use, partially subject to legal disputes, and needing an extension of Randolph Street to access it.

Outer Drive East is now distinguished as the shortest and widest of the wall of towers looking south on Millennium Park and Grant Park. The soaring concrete panels that bracket each tier of the building's balconies make it instantly recognizable and root its architectural heritage firmly in the 1960s.

Outer Drive East, which converted to condos in 1973, takes its name from the fact that it was once located east of Lake Shore Drive. For decades the geodesic glass dome enclosing its swimming pool was a landmark for motorists stalled in traffic on the Drive's infamous S curve. When Lake Shore Drive was rerouted in the early 1980s, the building found itself north of the Drive, and the domed pool was no longer visible to passing motorists.

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