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Tag: sears tower

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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Willis Tower – the building formerly known and loved as the Sears Tower

Muscle and masculinity personified

The Sears Tower construction crews broke ground in 1970 and the building topped off in 1973 becoming the tallest building in the United States, a title that stood for about 25 years. The Venerable architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merril took on project led by architect Bruce Graham and architectural engineer, Fazlur Khan. Khan invented a construction technique utilizing construction tubes. The Sears Tower is actually nine buildings connected to the main tower by Khan’s tubes. Kahn’s engineering brilliance lives on. There is not a skyscraper in the world that doesn’t tip a hat to the engineer.

Sears was once the retail king/queen of the world – the Amazon of shopping in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. . As its business model faded so did its need for office space and the company eventually ended up leaving the legacy landmark. United Airlines is now the largest tenant. Trivia. There are 40,000 fire detectors in the building.

The Sears Tower has a little brother named “Big John” also known as the John Hancock Building. Same architect, same architectural engineer and agency. The Hancock topped off in 1969. Construction on the Sears started in 1970.

Chicago is rich in great architecture, but the Sears Tower and the John Hancock continue to serve as the most identifiable buildings in the city and perhaps the country. Here’s to courage, ingenuity and risk taking in world class Chicago architecture.

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The Sears Tower currently known as Willis Tower

sears-tower

Following written copy from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
Architects have always been tasked with designing tall buildings to resist wind loads. But as buildings continued to grow taller and taller, new solutions were required. When this 110-story tower was designed, architect Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) utilized the bundled tube system to address structural problems never before seen at this scale. Their use of the innovative system ushered in a whole new era of skyscrapers.

The tower is comprised of a cluster of nine tubes connected together to act as a single unit. The tubes support one another, strengthening the structure as a whole. Meanwhile, the variations in tube height disrupt the force of the wind.

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