BMO Tower in Chicago

BMO Tower in Chicago – Redefining Skyscrapers

Located south of the Union Station terminal in the West Loop neighborhood is a new tower in Chicago. The BMO Tower in Chicago measures 222 meters in height and was the 24th-tallest building in the city at the time of its completion. It was designed by Goettsch Partners and added 140,000 square meters of office space to the area. Today, we will explore all the details of this new tower in Chicago!



An Exploration of the New BMO Tower in Chicago

ArchitectGoettsch Partners (est. 1938)
Date Completed2022
Height (Meters)222
LocationWest Loop, Chicago, United States

BMO Tower in Chicago Height Full view of the BMO Tower in Chicago; Sea Cow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The new tower in Chicago is named after its main tenant, BMO Harris Bank. Riverside Investment and Convexity Properties managed the project. Construction of the BMO Tower in Chicago began in 2019 and was complete by 2022.


Development and Construction of the New Tower in Chicago

Prior to the building’s development, the property was a parking lot owned by Amtrack, the national passenger railroad company of America. The building plans were unveiled in early 2019, and actual construction at the site commenced in December of that year.

Terraced setbacks and V-shaped structural frames were utilized in the tower’s design. 

A 1.5-acre public park was also planned, as well as the conversion of the top floors of Union Station into a hotel with 400 rooms. The tower commenced vertical construction in August 2020, and the last beam was set in April 2021 at a function hosted by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.


Features of the BMO Tower in Chicago

The BMO Tower’s central downtown location offers easy access to the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Theater District, and restaurants. The location is readily accessible to the Lower East Side, Lakefront District, Historic Third Ward, as well as the regional transportation center due to its location on the new Milwaukee Streetcar route. It is regarded as a prime space to have offices due to its highly visible location in the Central Business District, its breathtaking design, and opportunities for exterior branding. The high-quality tenants also potentially offer business opportunities for each other.

BMO Tower in Chicago Location BMO Tower in Downtown Chicago, in April 2022; Sea Cow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The floor-to-ceiling glass featured in the design affords the building’s interior an abundance of natural lighting. The design of the building is also said to be environmentally sustainable and boasts advanced systems that help to reduce the energy consumption of the skyscraper. Tenants also have access to shared common areas and conference centers. It is perfectly situated in the downtown financial district and is adjacent to both the municipal complex and city hall. BMO Tower in Chicago is seen as more than just an office skyscraper; it is a world-class workplace environment for global businesses.


The Architecture of the BMO Tower in Chicago

The BMO Tower, which rises from the site of a former parking facility, is conceived as a modern piece of architecture that enhances Milwaukee’s historic financial hub. To relate to its surroundings and accentuate its verticality, the all-glass skyscraper features a two-part massing. The corner of the tower is precisely radiused to reflect views of Milwaukee’s famous City Hall. The podium roof levels offer numerous options for tenant terraces and are covered with metal panels and transparent glass pieces to conceal the vehicles inside.

Ground-floor commercial areas and high-quality accents on the street level enhance the pedestrian experience. With improved streetscaping and an articulated public plaza in front of the tower, the architecture revitalizes the area. 

To insulate the parking on the tower’s lowest eight stories, the architects chose insulated metal panels. The panels were chosen for their design as well as their sustainability since they provide a barrier and insulation from the wind, cold, and snow that are commonplace in Milwaukee. Architects employed specialized colored paneling with trimless ends to produce a high-profile, unified design for the BMO tower, eliminating the need for metal flashings. Because of the interlocking installation of the hidden fastener architectural panels, the architects were able to achieve a clear sight line and a uniform appearance. A composite band was placed at the junction from the metal panels to the glass curtain wall on the 12th level to prevent water from entering.

Who Built the BMO Tower in Chicago Construction of the new BMO Tower 790 N Water St, Milwaukee; Lightburst, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They were responsible for keeping water out of the panels beneath the composite and preventing water from entering the structure that shears off the enormous glass curtain wall. The panels they fitted were a second, insulated barrier that performed this role without the need for extra insulation. These panels have a high R-value, which helps to retain insulating properties over the life of the structure, cutting cooling and heating expenses substantially.

This was critical to the project receiving Green Globes accreditation for sustainable construction, design, and operations from the Green Building Initiative. The project started construction in November 2017 and was open to a restricted number of employees in April 2020. The building’s formal opening date was the 8th of September, 2020.

The BMO Tower was chosen as  Metl-Span’s Building of the Year in 2021. 

New Tower in Chicago BMO Tower in Downtown Chicago; Sea Cow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The BMO Tower in Chicago stands at 222 meters tall and is one of the city skyline’s most recognizable structures. Many people also refer to it as Harris Tower, as it is the Headquarters of BMO Harris Bank. Upon its completion, it ranked as Chicago’s 24th-tallest skyscraper. Many people welcomed the addition of the new tower in Chicago, as it was previously the site of an outdoor parking lot owned by Amtrack. 




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Function of the BMO Tower in Chicago?

Situated in Chicago’s downtown business district, it serves many functions as a mixed-use building. It is mainly used by various organizations and companies as office space. It is specifically the headquarters of the BMO Harris Bank. However, there are also retail stores and several restaurants that the public can make use of. For the tenants of the building, there are also shared amenities, such as common spaces and conference rooms. Ultimately, the new building in Chicago has helped revitalize the local neighborhood by offering a new space from which to conduct business and entertain oneself.


What Is the Architecture Like of the BMO Tower in Chicago?

The architectural style of the BMO Tower in Chicago is modernist, characterized by clean lines, minimal adornment, and a focus on practicality. The structure was built to be both visually impressive and technically practical, and is regarded as one of the city’s most notable examples of modernist architecture. The BMO Tower’s interior has open-plan office spaces that are meant to optimize natural light and offer a pleasant yet professional work environment. The foyer of the building is especially remarkable for its eye-catching design, featuring high ceilings and clean, modern finishes that provide a warm and sophisticated ambiance. The exterior of the building is wrapped in a combination of steel and glass that gives it a streamlined and modern appearance.


Where Is the New Tower in Chicago Situated?

The BMO Tower is situated in the downtown district of Chicago, a city in the state of Illinois in the United States. It was conveniently constructed in the heart of the city’s central business district, making travel and access to the building quick and easy, as there are several transport lines nearby. The BMO Tower was built on the site of an old Amtrack-owned parking lot.


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “BMO Tower in Chicago – Redefining Skyscrapers.” Art in Context. September 8, 2023. URL:

van Huyssteen, J. (2023, 8 September). BMO Tower in Chicago – Redefining Skyscrapers. Art in Context.

van Huyssteen, Justin. “BMO Tower in Chicago – Redefining Skyscrapers.” Art in Context, September 8, 2023.

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