It turns out, Chicago has more revolving doors than any other city in the U.S.:
Angus MacMillan, the national sales manager for Crane Revolving Doors, says Chicago and New York are the biggest markets for revolving doors, and that Chicago was the No. 1 market for decades. He thinks downtown Chicago may have more revolving doors per block than New York: “I get my [sales] reps in from all around the country, and I’ll take them to downtown Chicago, and they’ll count more revolving doors in one block there than they have in their whole city.”
Architect Patrick Loughran of Goettsch Partners says Chicago’s still got a lot of revolving doors because we have so many tall buildings.
“Any high rise building is going to have to have elevator cores that take people from the bottom all the way up,” he says. “Those big open tubes create the stack effect where heat and air rise, and it creates this suction at the base of the building.”
Concerns about the stack effect in highrise buildings only partially explain why the revolving door is so common in the Chicago landscape. Because, if you take a stroll around the Loop, you’ll see contemporary low rise buildings with revolving doors as well: drug stores, restaurants, cafes, and clothing retailers. The likely reason doesn’t have to do with countering the stack effect. According to MacMillan, it comes down to comfort and economics — the need to maximize floor space.
I love WBEZ's Curious City series because of stories like this.