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JW Marriott Chicago by DiLeonardo and Lucien Lagrange Architects
A lavish lobby features Italian marble and hand-blown chandeliers.
Courtesy J.W. Marriott Chicago

JW Marriott Chicago
151 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL
Tel: 312-660-8200
Designers: DiLeonardo, Lucien Lagrange Architects

Another Daniel Burnham building has been Lagrange-d, that is, adapted into a luxury hotel by Lucien Lagrange Architects. First it was the green terra cotta–clad Hard Rock Hotel, and now the new JW Marriott in the former Continental and Commercial National Bank building. The entrance to the hotel has been sheathed in a three-story glass wall that gives passersby views into the brightly lit, marble-clad lobby. It provides a clue to the interior: little of Burnham and the bank remains, replaced with modern luxury and, well, a Marriott.

JW Marriott Chicago   Lobby stair at JW Marriott Chicago   Burnham Ballroom at the JW Marriott Chicago
Exterior of the Burnham-designed JW Marriott Chicago (left), a grand staircase in the hotel lobby (center), and the barrel vaulted Burnham Ballroom with hand-blown chandeliers (right).  

A handsome Marriott it is (and with a $396 million price tag, one would hope so). The lobby explodes with imported Italian marble and five space-filling, hand-blown chandeliers. The requisite intimate lobby bar and front desk areas are flanked by two sweeping staircases that lead to the hotel restaurant and conference center. They scream: “Take your wedding photos on me!” At the center of the building is the barrel-vaulted ballroom with atrium above. Unfortunately, the glass ceiling has been replaced with acoustic tiles, but the space is still dramatic and filled with more hand-blown glass chandeliers. Hand-craftsmanship can be found within the rooms as well. The wooden furniture came from the Amish in Ohio.

Ryan LaFollette