John Hancock Center at 875
Avenue in the Gold Coast 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 and structural engineer
Fazlur Khan and Bruce Graham. When completed in
1969, 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, and the Aon Center.
When measured to the top of its antenna masts
, it stands at . The
building is home to offices and restaurants
, as well as about 700 condominiums
and contains the highest residences
in the world. This skyscraper was named for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance
, 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.
The Hancock Center's observation deck
facilities (called the
Hancock Observatory) compete with the Willis Tower's Skydeck
across town. The Hancock
Center is in a commercial district, while the Willis Tower is in
the financial district. The Hancock Center 94th floor observation
deck displays exhibits about the city of Chicago. Maps explain the
view in each direction and a special meshed-in area allows the
visitors to feel the winds above ground level. The 44th-floor
features America's highest
indoor swimming pool
The John Hancock Center was erected on the site of Cap Streeter
's 19th century steamboat
shanty. The area is called Streeterville after him, and consists of landfill reclaimed from
Construction of the tower was briefly halted in 1967 due to a
credit crunch experienced by the builder, briefly leaving the
building in a truncated form approximately 20 stories high.
situation is similar to the one currently being experienced with
the construction of Waterview Tower.
The building's first resident was Ray Heckla, the original building
engineer, responsible for the residential floors from 44-92. Ray
and his family moved into a 2 bedroom apartment in April 1969
before the building was completed.
On November 11, 1981, Veterans Day
high-rise firefighting and rescue advocate Dan Goodwin
, for the purpose of calling
attention to the inability to rescue people trapped in the upper
floors of skyscrapers, successfully climbed the outside of the John
Hancock Center. Wearing a wetsuit and using a climbing device that
enabled him to ascend the I-beams on the building's side, Goodwin
battled repeated attempts by the Chicago Fire Department
to knock him
off. Fire Commissioner William Blair ordered Chicago firemen to
stop Goodwin by directing a fully engaged fire hose at him and by
blasting fire axes through nearby glass from the inside. Fearing
for Goodwin's life, Mayor Jane Byrne
intervened and allowed him to continue to the top.
On December 18, 1997, comedian Chris
was found dead in his apartment on the 60th floor of the
John Hancock Center.
On March 9, 2002, part of a swing-stage
(hanging scaffold for window washing & exterior repairs) fell
43 stories after being torn loose by wind gusts around 60 mph (100
km/h), crushing several cars and killing three people in two of
them. The remaining part of the stage swung back-and-forth in the
gusts repeatedly slamming against the building, damaging cladding
panels, breaking windows, and sending pieces onto the street
December 10, 2006, the non-residential portion of the building was
sold by San
LLC for $385 million and was purchased by Goldman Sachs.
Shorenstein had bought
the building in 1998 for $220 million.
An annual stair climb race up the 94 floors from the Michigan
Avenue level to the observation deck called Hustle up the Hancock
is held on the last Sunday of February. The climb benefits the
Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago
. The record time as
of 2008 is 9 minutes 38 seconds.
16, 2009 at 6:00AM CDT, WYCC-TV
transmitting off the John Hancock switched to all-digital
broadcasting, becoming Chicago's first television station to stop
broadcasting in an analog signal.
WCIU-TV is one of only two
Chicago market full-power television stations which broadcast from
the top of the John Hancock Center. The other is WGBO-DT, while all
of the other area stations broadcast from the top of the Sears Tower.
, host of The Jerry Springer Show
continues to maintain his 91st floor residence. Prior to Chris Farley
's death, the two lived in adjacent
The John Hancock Center
One of the most famous buildings of the structural expressionist
skyscraper's distinctive X-bracing exterior is actually a hint that
the structure's skin is indeed part of its 'tubular system'. This
idea is one of the architectural techniques the building used to
climb to record heights (the tubular system is essentially the
spine that helps the building stand upright during wind and
earthquake loads). This X-bracing allows for both higher
performance from tall structures and the ability to open up the
inside floorplan (and usable floor space) if the architect desires.
Original features such as the skin have made the John Hancock
Center an architectural icon. It was pioneered by
Bangladeshi-American structural civil engineer Fazlur Khan
and chief architect Bruce Graham
. Unlike the in the Sears Tower, the building's antenna masts are the same height,
which gives the building a much more symmetrical appearance,
despite several similarities in the design of the two
The interior was remodeled in 1995, adding to the lobby travertine
and textured limestone
surfaces. The elliptical-shaped plaza
outside the building serves as a public oasis with seasonal
plantings and a 12-foot (3.7 m) waterfall. A band of white
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
sports team goes far in the playoffs, the colors change, too. When
the Chicago Bears
made the Super Bowl
the colors were blue and orange.
The building is a member of the World Federation of Great
. It also has won various awards for its
distinctive style, including the Distinguished Architects 25 Year
Award from the American Institute of
Architects in May 1999.
its antennas, the John Hancock Center has a height of
1,500 feet (457 m), making it the fifth-tallest building
in the world when measured to pinnacle height (after Burj Dubai, Willis
Tower, the Shanghai World Financial
Center, and Taipei
The Skydeck elevators of the John Hancock center, manufactured by
Otis, travel 94 floors at a top speed of 1800 ft/min (20.5
Tenants and businesses
Position in Chicago's skyline
- p. 422, American Architecture: A History, Leland M.
Roth, Westview Press, 2003, ISBN 0813336627
- Headliners Higher and Higher Published: November
15, 1981 New York Times
- " Chicago." Qatar Airways. Retrieved on February
- " Oficinas Consulares en Estados Unidos."
Embassy of Chile in
Washington, D.C. Retrieved on January 31, 2009.