Essential Architecture-  Chicago Loop North

Palmolive Building Playboy Building


Holabird & Roche


919 N. Michigan Avenue




Art Deco


steel frame


Office Building
Built for one of the world's leading soap manufacturers, this office building ("a monument to cleanliness") was the first commercial skyscraper built far from the Loop - at the northern end of Michigan Avenue. It is one of the country's premier Art Deco-style "set-back" skyscrapers, the design of which were influenced by municipal zoning laws and the dramatic renderings of New York architect Hugh Ferris. The building was designed by one of Chicago's oldest and most prestigious architectural firms, whose other significant buildings include the 333 North Michigan Building, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the former Chicago Daily News Building. A navigational beacon operated atop the building from 1930-1981. It was known as the Playboy Building from 1965 to 1989, when it served as headquarters for Playboy magazine.
The Palmolive Building, formerly the Playboy Building, is a 37 story Art Deco building at 919 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Built by Holabird & Root, it was completed in 1929 and was home to Colgate-Palmolive-Peet. A beacon was added in 1930 and operated until 1981. The building was known as the Playboy Building when it was home to Playboy magazine from 1965 to 1989.[2] During this time the word P-L-A-Y-B-O-Y was spelled out in 9 feet (2.7 m) letters.[3] It became a Chicago Landmark in 2000,[2] as was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Today, the building is being converted for residential use by developer Draper and Kramer. The first two floors house upscale office and retail space. High-end condos make up the rest of the building. Perhaps its most famous resident is Vince Vaughn.


With special thanks to the City of Chicago website, , for much of the info on this page.
Photos copyright City of Chicago.