Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chicago Part 3 of 8 - John Hancock Tower

John Hancock Tower, Chicago
We wanted to visit either the Sears/Willis Tower or the Hancock Tower.  As it turns out, we were near Hancock so we purchased tickets to the Observation Deck and had a look around - breathtaking. 

According to Wiki
John Hancock Center  at 875 North Michigan Avenue in the Streeterville area of Chicago, Illinois, is a 100-story, 1,127-foot (344 m) tall skyscraper, constructed under the supervision of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, with chief designer Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan.  When the building topped out on May 6, 1968, it was the tallest building in the world outside New York City. It is currently the fourth-tallest building in Chicago and the sixth-tallest in the United States, after the Willis Tower, the Empire State Building, the Bank of America Tower, the Trump Tower Chicago, and the Aon Center. When measured to the top of its antenna masts, it stands at 1,506 feet (459 m).  The building is home to offices and restaurants, as well as about 700 condominiums and contains the third highest residence in the world, after the Trump Tower also in Chicago and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  This skyscraper was named for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, a developer and original tenant of the building.
The 95th floor has long been home to a restaurant, the latest tenant being "The Signature Room on the 95th Floor." While patrons dine, they can look out at Chicago and Lake Michigan. John Hancock Center's Observatory attraction (called John Hancock Observatory) competes with the Willis Tower's Skydeck across town. John Hancock Center is in the heart of Michigan Avenue, a prime tourist hotspot in Chicago, while the Willis Tower is in the financial district. John Hancock Observatory is complete with full 360 degree views of the city, up to four states and over 80 miles. The Observatory has Chicago's only open-air SkyWalk and also features a free multimedia tour in six languages, narrated by actor David Schwimmer.  From January to March, starting in 2011, the Observatory will also offer what the building management claims to be the world's highest ice skating rink, using a synthetic surface that will enable the use of standard ice skates at normal room temperature.  The 44th-floor sky lobby features America's highest indoor swimming pool.
The Observation Deck on the 94th floor is a quick 40 second ride by elevator.  It was all very disconcerting to the internal sensors (aka, motion sickness), even though the building didn't noticeably sway in the wind.  Years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with clients near the top of the Trammel Crow Center in Dallas, Texas. I was on the 46th of 50 floors and the building felt like it was rotating, it was all I could do to not hurl lunch.  Wiki's description of the Trammel Crow Center lists the same architect for both buildings - Trammel Crow and Hancock Center.

Trammael Crow Center, Dallas

Window always need cleaning, evening at the Hancock Tower
I think Craig would have liked to stay a bit longer as the sun was starting to come out but there were some of us (cough cough) who were starting to have a hissy being up so high from the ground - it's not natural!

See here for Part 2 of 8 of our trip
Part 4


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