Address: 875 N Michigan Ave | CHICAGO-ILLINOIS | United States | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 41.89881, -87.62308
The John Hancock Center is a 100-story, 344 m supertall skyscraper at 875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was 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 second tallest building in the world, the tallest outside New York City. It is currently the fourth-tallest building in Chicago and the seventh-tallest in the United States. 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 in Chicago and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The building was named for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, a developer and original tenant of the building.
From the 95th floor restaurant, diners can look out at Chicago and Lake Michigan. The Observatory (360 Chicago), which competes with the Willis Tower’s Skydeck, has a 360° view of the city, up to four states, and a distance of over 130 km. The Observatory has Chicago’s only open-air SkyWalk and also features a free multimedia tour in six languages. The 44th-floor sky lobby features America’s highest indoor swimming pool. On Saturday November 21, 2015 a fire occurred on the 50th floor of the building.
John Hancock Center, which would at that time become the world’s second tallest building, was originally conceived of and owned by Jerry Wolman in late 1964, the project being financed by John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. Construction of the tower was interrupted in 1967 due to a flaw in an innovative engineering method used to pour concrete in stages that was discovered when the building was 20 stories high. The engineers were getting the same soil settlements for the 20 stories that had been built as what they had expected for the entire 99 stories. This forced the owner to stop development until the engineering problem could be resolved, and resulted in a credit crunch.
This situation is similar to the one faced during the construction of 111 West Wacker, then known as the Waterview Tower. The owner went bankrupt, which resulted in John Hancock taking over the project, which retained the original design, architect, engineer, and main contractor.
One of the most famous buildings of the structural expressionist style, the skyscraper’s distinctive X-braced exterior shows that the structure’s skin is part of its ‘tubular system’. This is one of the engineering techniques which the designers used to achieve a record height. This X-bracing allows for both higher performance from tall structures and the ability to open up the inside floorplan. Such original features have made the John Hancock Center an architectural icon.
The interior of John Hancock Center was remodeled in 1995, adding to the lobby travertine, black granite, and textured limestone surfaces. The elliptical-shaped plaza outside the building serves as a public oasis with seasonal plantings and a 3.7 m waterfall. A band of white lights at the top of the building is visible all over Chicago at night and changes colors for different events. For example, at Christmas time the colors are green and red. When a Chicago-area sports team goes far in the playoffs, the colors are changed to match the team’s colors.
John Hancock Center is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. It has won various awards for its distinctive style, including the Distinguished Architects Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in May 1999.
⇒ Architecture Guide to CHICAGO-ILLINOIS
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