Did you know that there’s a building in Chicago that’s covered in 24k gold? Yes, dahling, it’s true!
The Carbide & Carbon building was created by the Burnham Brothers in 1929. And, yes, before you ask, their dad was famed Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham.
Imitation gold leaf was originally considered for this 37-story Art Deco structure, but was ultimately rejected in favor of real gold because why the hell not?
But don’t grab your ladder just yet! Even though this is 24k gold, it’s only 1 five-thousandths of an inch thick.
Legend has it that this building was created to look like a bottle of champagne, though, this might just be a critique on the excesses of the 1920s.
Now, not only is this building unique because it’s literally covered in gold, but it also reflects 2 major events in the history of the Chicago Loop:
- First is the addition of the Michigan Ave. bridge in 1920 that extended the formerly part-industrial, part-residential area of River North with the commercial and retail-saturated area of the Loop.
- The Carbide & Carbon building also reflects the 1923 zoning ordinance that aimed at providing more light in buildings at street level.
Also of note is that this was one of the last grand buildings created in Chicago before the Great Depression.
There were even plans to actually build a sister building to this structure, but with the market crash of 1929, these plans were scrapped real quick.