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The Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady starts March 15. Whether it’s your first or fifth time taking the cruise, you’ll notice a lot of changes, including three of the city’s tallest new towers.

By Zachary Whittenburg

All three of the following buildings are scheduled for completion by the end of this year.

110 North Wacker

The east elevation of Chicago’s tallest office building in three decades presents an appropriately businesslike façade to its neighbors on Wacker Drive. In contrast, eight bands of corner offices serrate its riverfront side. As if in response to the impossibly narrow base of 150 North Riverside—also by Goettsch Partners—across the river, the west side of 110 is supported by nine slender columns, pinched together and touching the Riverwalk at just three points.

Wolf Point East

Part two of a trilogy set to conclude with the completion of Salesforce Tower in 2023, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Wolf Point East wears white pinstripes over reflective glass. Its expansive width toward the river belies its narrow edges for a silhouette that recalls a cassette tape. While its indoor-outdoor “city lounges” and open-air swimming pool are exclusively for residents, it meets the Riverwalk in a park-like series of planted terraces.

Vista Tower

While the world’s tallest building designed by a woman is currently Aqua Tower by Jeanne Gang, the nearly-complete Vista Tower nearby—also by Studio Gang—will soon take Aqua’s place at the top of that list. Subtle gradations of blue-green glass are now wrapped around Vista’s three stacks of trapezoids. These bands bring a rhythm to Vista accentuating its profile, while anticipating differences in solar heat gain as it widens and narrows.