The world’s largest wayfinding “You Are Here” Map is located in…

ANSWER: Chicago!!

Even if you had no idea what they were called, most of us have seen one of those “You Are Here” maps in malls, airports, and other large and sprawling facilities. Those simple maps are a subclassification of wayfinding maps, maps intended to help orient the viewer to nearby buildings or features within those buildings, with the additional and useful flourish of placing a small indicator like a star or red dot that corresponds to both the present location of the map and the viewer of said map.

Most such maps are relatively modest in size and even in large buildings like The Mall of America, the wayfinding maps are still scaled to the people who will be standing in front of them (and typically no larger than a few square yards at most). If you want to see a large, and we do mean large, wayfinding map, you’ll need to take a trip to the heart of Chicago and search out the 300 South Wacker building.

For years the side of 300 South Wacker Tower was a bit of an eyesore. The center of the building’s west face was a giant monolithic concrete slab that housed the building’s elevator shafts and when the building was purchased by Beacon Capital in 2013, the company really wanted to freshen up the look. You can’t just remove a 445 foot tall concrete monolith that’s integral to the design and stability of your building, however, so they (with the help of the New York City design firm ESI Design) got creative by turning the entire expanse of concrete into a giant map of part of Chicago complete with a raised red “You Are Here” style marker representing the building on the map.

The result isn’t just a really clever way to dress up the eyesore that was the beige and dated concrete wall of the building, but also the largest wayfinding “You Are Here” map around.

Image courtesy of ESI Design