Architect/Firm: Burnham Brothers, 1929
The former home of the Union Carbide and Carbon Company, which developed the first dry-cell battery, is one of Chicago's stand-out Art Deco works. Designed by Daniel Burnham's sons, Daniel Jr. and Hubert, its distinct, narrow tower of polished black granite and dark green terra cotta tapers to a lavish 24k gold leaf and bronze trimmed spire -- much like a Champagne bottle capped with foil. Its restored interior also makes a statement with an extravagant hotel lobby of frosted glass fixtures and Belgian marble.
Karp loves it because: "I don't think there's many lists on Chicago architecture that've left this one off. It differs from other Art Deco skyscrapers in Chicago because of its shape and really distinct, striking colors and all of the gold trim up at the top. Almost all of the Art Deco high-rises you see are kind of the same really drab, boring beige limestone."