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'El Wacko' and the Story of Helmut Jahn's MetroWest Building

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After hearing that Helmut Jahn's N-shaped MetroWest building, a curious 10-story office tower and expressway icon in Naperville, may command $35 million in an upcoming sale, we checked the architectural record to see what people said about the structure when it opened in 1986. Turns out, quite a bit; dubbed "the El Wacko" building by a Naperville resident, it stood out "in a land of squat office buildings swathed in a thousand shades of beige." Maybe even more intriguing is the way Jahn himself is described, a "flamboyant postmodernist, who adorns himself in capes and Porsches" whose "disdain for the conventional echoes Pablo Picasso; his marketability, Calvin Klein."

Evidently, the "N" and Naperville connection wasn't foremost in Jahn's mind when he designed the 205,055-square-foot postmodern cube on the side of Interstate 88. The sloped exterior was meant to support a series of terraces on the building's front, but the coicidence was too great to avoid the nickname.

·Suburb Gets High Compliment [Tribune]
·Jahn-designed Naperville office building could fetch $35 million [Crain's]