Civic Opera Edge

This site spans from Washington and Madison Street bridges and is characterized by the canyon of buildings framing the Chicago River with the iconic Civic Opera Building to the east and the historic Riverside Plaza Building to the west.

The challenge at this site is how to provide a continuous path when there is a building built along the river’s edge. This site is also unique along the South Branch because of the ornamental stone façade backdrop of the Civic Opera Building and the river-front terrace of the Riverside Plaza Building.

More information on Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission and events »

Civic Opera Building (built 1927–29)

Civic Opera Building (built 1927–29): Designed by prominent architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the Civic Opera Building was the first high-style building on the south branch of the Chicago River. The mixed-use building occupies an entire city block and helped to expand the central business district to the west, fulfilling one of the goals identified in Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago. The 45-story building has 872,000 square feet of commercial office space and a 3,563-seat auditorium for the Lyric Opera House.

Riverside Plaza Building (after it was built 1929)

Riverside Plaza Building (built 1929): This 26-story office building was the first large building designed to front the Chicago River and to span over the railroad tracks. Known as the Chicago Daily News Building, the art-deco architectural style building was designed by noted architectural firm Holabird & Root. This development was also the city’s first office building plaza and its location along the river provides an important activation opportunity.

Civic Opera Edge ideas