John Hancock Center (Chicago, Illinois)
N 41° 53.928 W 087° 37.385
16T E 448316 N 4638727
Quick Description: Known locally as "Big John", black tower of the John Hancock Center building with its distinctive X-bracing is one of the most beautiful US skyscrapers and one of Chicago's main architectural landmarks...
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 6/7/2009 2:52:42 AM
Waymark Code: WM6HMA
The John Hancock Center, one hundred story skyscraper completed in 1969, has a remarkable design with the huge X-braces serving both a structural and a visual purpose. Visually, it gives the impression of stability and it moves the eye away from the human-sized windows. "Big John" was tallest building in Chicago (or anywhere outside New York) from 1969 to 1973. Including its new antennas (2002), the John Hancock Center has a height of 457 m, making it one of the tallest building in the world when measured to pinnacle height.
The construction was designed by the engineer Fazlur Khan and architect Bruce Graham from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Fazlur Khan devised the frame-tube system, which he also implemented in the Sears Tower. This new construction method was made possible by new technologies, like more advanced software and new developments in steel. Thanks to the new construction method, it was possible for Kahn to design constructions which could resist the strong windforces more effectively by having the forces absorbed by all three dimensions of the building. The diagonals are connected to the exterior columns, making if possible for the forces to be carried over from the braces to the columns and back. The innovative construction also resulted in a 50% decrease of required steel compared to skyscrapers built with interior columns.
Just like Marina City, the John Hancock Center is a multifunction building. It includes 48 stories of apartments (with a total of 711 apartments), 29 stories offices, shops, a hotel, a swimming pool, an ice rink, restaurant and on top of the 344 meters tall building radio and television facilities. On top it offers services like its own post office and a refuse collection. The apartments are located at the top of the tower. Some of them are so high that the inhabitants sometimes have to call the doorkeeper to ask what the weather's like down on the ground, as the apartments are sometimes above the clouds.
The observation deck at the top of the John Hancock Center gives one of the best views you can have on the Loop, Chicago's downtown area. For more information about the observatory and for some great pictures taken from the John Hancock Center, jump to the website of the Hancock Observatory.