While living out in the far southwest suburbs of Chicago, the most direct route into the city was via I-88. While inbound, there was always a building with interesting architecture on the south side of the road. For years this building was one of the most distinctive landmarks along the route. I hope I’m not the only one who wondered what the building was for.
Years later, in 1996, Nintendo released their Nintendo 64 console. Taking into account the 3D technology they hoped to popularize, the new logo followed the same, showing the same N symbol from four different sides. Commercials had the logo spin, fully showcasing the console’s new way of gaming.
Around this time, a few of us in the area began calling the building on I-88 the “Nintendo 64” building, as the noticeable diagonal piece made the building look like a similar N from all four sides. By this point the building was mostly Laidlaw, the school bus company. They had plastered their logo over the topmost part of the building.
A little research now shows that the “Nintendo 64 building” is in fact a standard multi office building with many different businesses having offices in its confines. Its main office still appears to be First Student Inc., the successor of Laidlaw,which is pretty much a school bus company. There are at least fifteen other businesses with offices in the building as well.
Update: A little research, started by a marching band buddy of mine, shows that the building was designed by IIT graduate Helmut Jahn. There have been many rumors of the unique ‘N’ through the years. One had the shape mean Naperville while another incorrectly has the architect’s alma mater as Northern Illinois University and the NI logo the building’s inspiration.