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Tag: John Hancock – Chicago

Trump International Hotel and Tower

Trump Tower Chicago Dominates views on the Chicago River.
Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago, topped out in 2009 and stands at 98 stories. At one point, the real estate developer planned to build the tallest building in the United States or perhaps the world at this site, but when terrorists took down the World Trade Towers in New York City, Trump decided he didn’t want his building to become a target. The Trump International Hotel and Tower shares something important with Chicago’s most iconic buildings, the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center. All three buildings and developers used the world famous Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merill. To the chagrin of many, Trump International Hotel and Tower passed up the Hancock Building in terms of Height. However, that needs to be explained. When comparing rooftop to rooftop, the Hancock is significantly taller than the Trump building. However, the spire on the Trump, because it has no satellite dishes and other electronic equipment gets to be measured in the over the height of the building. It should also be pointed out that when comparing rooftop to rooftop, the Sears Tower towers over One World Trade in New York City but because the One World has a clean spire, it’s considered the taller of the two buildings never mind that when comparing rooftop to rooftop the Willis/Sears is ten stories taller. Chicago officials and architects never fought the measurement in of One World in New York because of its symbolic importance, but there’s a little nonsecret that swirls through architecture offices, One World most certainly is not taller nor was it harder or gutsier to build than the Sears. Here’s to humility and the Second City. Trump is not a widely loved figure in Chicago, but he developed a world-class skyscraper. Keeping only the building in mind, it’s impressive and an important part of Chicago skyline.

 

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You have your John Hancock, this one is mine

Isn’t it something? It represents America to me. A calculated gamble. A few missteps on the way to 1,127 feet. This beast, the most masculine building ever constructed, will celebrate it’s 50th birthday in four years. No gray hair yet. Aay, she’s a beauty. john hancock

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El Rey de Chicago

El Rey de Chicago

Brown ones and round ones, short, stout, square and tall, and then there’s the Hancock, greater than all. A building. So what. It can stir child’s spirit, ambitious, aspire, inspire and make people a half mile away remember wonder. I love it because it’s a beacon and an archive of what and who we used to be. Decisions were made years at a time, not on the two year pathetic cycle of congressional races that forces decent men and women to continually posture and search for the worst in others. The Hancock was a huge gamble. So Skidmore huddled a mini Manhattan project. American guts, calculated gamblers and thousands of workers no better or worse than anyone else. The 22-year-old guys that walked those beams with swagger in ’67, ’68 and “69 are the only ones left from the project. They worked for 35 or 40 or maybe 26 years. What they share in common is the knowledge they helped build that building. Each of them talks as if they own it. And they do. At least part of it. They remember a 10 hours shift and afterward talk in the construction yard and glimpses of Bruce Graham and a hug from Fazlur Kahn, the humble and brilliant architect from the portion of Pakistan that eventually became Bangladesh. What could be more American than a migrant helping to shape the country. The John Hancock topped off in 1969.

A few weeks later, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon and Neil Armstrong talked about a giant step. There were a few of those giants steps in 1969 and the John Hancock is one of them.

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Bookends, how two men framed a city

Bookends, how two men framed a city

Architectural engineer Fazlur Khan and architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, designed the John Hancock Building to the right (North) and soon thereafter designed the Sears Tower to the left (South). I don’t believe the buildings were located by accident as the Chicago skyline falls between the two.

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John Hancock – Chicago

John Hancock - Chicago

When clouds drift across the top 100 feet of the John Hancock Building a reverse draft is created on the opposite side of the building where a plume of cloud will often circle and re-circle in the same general area for minutes at a time or until a breeze from a different direction hits the building. It’s especially interesting looking from inside the building on the observation deck. There may be beautiful blue skies on three sides of the building and then what looks like a storm brewing on the fourth side. The Hancock may not create weather, but it alters it at 1,100 feet. On the next partly cloudy day with a mild wind, look up and watch something remarkable. Besides, it’s a good neck stretch.

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