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The Pyramid Downtown

Starvin' Artist/Des Plaines Travel Agency Building

One of downtown's more creative buildings sits at the corner of Graceland and Lee Streets. It's odd in several regards.

It's one of the younger buildings downtown, built in 1981. It's among several buildings in Des Plaines designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protege . It has a tiny parking lot. It's four stories tall but barely higher than the neighboring 

But the most unusual part is that it's effectively a pyramid, or at least a quarter of an eight-sided one. Its steeply pitched roof with a skylight down the middle creates a unique interior space. Stevens' buildings frequently emphasized a rich, skylit, landscaped atrium, as seen at the Des Plaines Mall and Le Ronde on Lee Street. While shelves inside now make it harder to "feel" the space, it's easy to appreciate how the architect made this building seem much larger on the inside than outside.

The building was originally built for the Des Plaines Travel Agency. They remained there until 1989, when O'Malley and McKay Insurance moved in. Starvin' Artist Supply moved in about 10 years ago.

The site was formerly home to a gas station, and before that was part of Sigwalt Lumber & Coal, previously Barney Winkelmann Lumberyard and E.D. Scott's Cider Mill.

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