The building’s design strategy contributes a number of unique architectural and urban designs to Chicago. Trump International Hotel & Tower offers a significant new addition to the Chicago skyline and changes the way in which individuals experience the Chicago River. Shaped to reflect its orientation along the riverfront, the tower’s width is sensitive to its urban surroundings. The south side of the tower parallels the bank of the Chicago River enabling the structure to connect with Chicago’s north-south grid. Adding to the tower’s sculptural quality, the building’s massing is lifted by 40 ft, opening up an expansive, landscaped promenade that steps down, like terraces on a hillside, for three levels, until it meets the Chicago River. This promenade establishes a pedestrian connection between Michigan Avenue and State Street. By providing public assembly spaces and retail activity at the river's edge, the tower will connect two bustling areas together; North Michigan Avenue and the Loop.
The tower relates to its neighbours through a series of setbacks, the first of which occurs on the east side of the tower, at a height that is essentially the same as the cornice line of the Wrigley Building to the east. The next setback is on the west side of the tower and relates to both the height of the residential tower to the north and Marina City, to the west. The third and final setback is on the east side of the tower and relates to the height of the IBM Building immediately adjacent.