Aqua Tower – A Noteworthy Attraction in Chicago

No doubt, Chicago does not need an introduction thanks to numerous attractions and things to do. However, story of Chicago is definitely incomplete without Aqua Tower which is an 82-story mixed-use residential skyscraper.

Chicago-82-story Aqua tower, designed by Studio Gang architects

When we describe the Aqua Tower as residential structure, it may ruin the imagination about this masterpiece in our minds, but we personally visit the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago, we stand still and stunning thanks to special design and marvelous beauty of Aqua Tower. Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects was the head of architectural team who design this magnum opus in collaboration with James Loewenberg of Loewenberg & Associates.

The underground parking facility is also available in the building. All types of entertainment sources are available within eighty-two stories of building. These facilities include gazebos, gardens, hot tubs, pools, a walking/running track and a fire pit. The area of each floor is nearly 1,500 m2. Aqua Towers also holds two remarkable honors which are called “Emporis Skyscraper Award 2009”, and “skyscraper of the year”. It was shortlisted in 2010 for the biannual International High rise Award.

The Aqua Tower is encircled with high profile buildings and situated at 225 North Columbus Drive. The balconies of Aqua Tower can be stretched outward up to 12 ft to provide awesome views of nearby landmarks for Aqua’s residents. The limestone outcroppings give widespread topographic feature of the Great Lakes region.

According to Jeanne Gang, the theme behind deign of this skyscraper was not a high-rise structure. In fact, the firm of Jeanne Gang was not very big before rise of Aqua Tower. At that time, it was just a small 38-person firm doing business in the city since 1997. However, the firm proved its identity in 2004, when Jeanne Gang met a famous architect James Loewenberg who was the member of Magellan Development Group and was one of the key persons working behind the 28-acre Lakeshore East mixed-use complex.

Jeanne Gang worked hard to find out the economical and practical way of providing swirling architectonic shape to envelop during her study towards rectangular footprint of the building. All at once, she developed the ways of making this project, energy efficient via sustainable approach which permitted the developer to relate for LEED class. Loewenberg was worried at the beginning of the process, but soon he realized, “It is possible to make this building green. We were previously doing one and didn’t yet know it.” Jeanne Gang became happy by seeing the acceptance of her energy-saving plan.

At the time of extension from shield line to the border of the cantilever, the 9 inches thick slabs of balcony become thin. As indicated by David Eckmann of Magnusson Klemencic, the structural engineer of the building, this feature is very supportive in drainage and keeps precipitation off the face of the building. Some additional thermal breaks between the concrete slabs were thought to introduce by the architects, but later on it realized that it is hard to achieve the goal by means of this tactic. Finally, Jeanne Gang solved out the problem by using concrete canopies and the natural ventilation. Now, Aqua Tower is truly considered one of the most comfortable and splendid skyscraper of Chicago.

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