When thinking about Chicago’s Skyline, John Hancock Tower is one of its main attractions. Located north of the Magnificent Mile it is one my favorite spots. Every time that I am around that area I take the opportunity to go to the Signature’s Lounge, situated on the 95th floor, and take a look at the amazing panorama.
It is 100-foot story and 459 m, including its antennas. Construction started in 1965, with Bruce Graham as the chief designer and Fazlur Khan as the structural engineer. It has residential floors, an observatory, a restaurant on top and other businesses on the ground floor. When it was being built it was the tallest building in the world outside from New York. Nowadays, it is the fourth tallest building in Chicago. Its structural importance relies on the X-bracing tubular system that for the first time was shown in the exterior. In the beginning, the structure was something to be hidden and the apartments that had a piece of structure on their façade were expected to be sold last. Despite this fact, these apartments were the most requested. It was the beginning of a new era.
Restaurant. X-Bracing Beams.
Recently, an ice skating rink was installed in the Observatory floor (quite a disappointment when I visited it to be honest). On the other hand, a band of lights at the top of the building is visible all over Chicago at night and changes colors for different events. When watching the 4th of July fireworks for example, it had the colors of the American flag.
Views from the Signature’s Lounge, Aon Center.
I find this building very interesting in many aspects: structural, programmatic and spatial. The views from it are brutal. Architects are taught at school that the thing they should never forget to visit when being in a building are the restrooms, if they are successful the building must be successful as well. Indeed, the space left for this function (at least the ladies restroom) is breathtaking.
Views from the ladies restroom.
For more amazing architecture check this and other amazing buildings of Chicago on the map below or download my Free Architecture Guide of Chicago.