When constructed in 1963 on the Chicago lakefront, Outer Drive East Tower (aka 400EAST) was one of the largest apartment buildings in the world. The building is known for its prominent location on the S curve on Lake Shore Drive and the Buckminster Fuller-inspired geodesic glass dome covering the swimming pool, a setting for scenes in several movies. RADA Architects’ designs over the last decade have been transformative to the urban renewal of this notable mixed-use structure.
The reconstruction of the swimming pool and glass dome in 2009 used unique kinetic color light to create a draw in the new Lakeshore East neighborhood, just steps away from Millennium Park. The fitness club, spa, winter gardens, children’s playroom, offices and new public areas were redone in 2010. The old fitness club with dark and closed-off rooms gave way to large, open and light-filled spaces. New designs for residential hallways and lobbies – more than 40 stories and 1,000 units – carved out a contemporary and competitive image for this landmark property, ushering in a new era in 2012.
The main lobby was upgraded in 2014. Large, color-changing lanterns fill the tall space, inviting the eye and people to a place of fun, relaxation, and urban energy. The festive lights “connect the dots” of urban renewal with the activity in nearby Maggie Daley Park and Millennium Park.