Cheers: The Carbide and Carbon Building Entry and Photography by Andrea N. Sforza


What better way to end a month of ‘Cheers-ing!’ than to talk about the Carbide and Carbon Building. Why’s that? Because rumor has it that this Burnham brothers designed skyscraper was meant to resemble a giant bottle of champaign. Whether or not this story is true, there’s no denying that the green body and the skinny gold tower atop really do look like a bottle of bubbly.

Daniel and Hubert Burnham were the architects of this art deco masterpiece as well as the sons of the more well known architect/planner Daniel H. Burnham. Their choice of materials, along with the massing of the structure, allow the Carbide and Carbon to stand out among its peers in Chicago’s skyline. As a student studying historic architectural materials, I can’t help but point out the polished granite base and deep green terra cotta cladding – a truly grand combination, especially when topped with a 50 foot tower of gold!

Although it held offices for most of it’s life, since 2004 the Carbide and Carbon has been home to the Hard Rock Hotel. Next time you’re walking down Michigan Avenue, make sure not to miss this landmark. And even better, you can even go in, grab a drink, and cheers!


Location: 230 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

Architect: Burnham Brothers

Date: 1929



American Institute of Architects Chicago, Preface by Geoffrey Baer, and Intro by Perry Duis. AIA Guide to Chicago. Edited by Laurie McGovern Petersen and Alice Sinkevitch. 3rd ed. Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

Hardrock Hotel Chicago, ‘History of the Carbon and Carbide Building.’