Architecture

Chicago's iconic Willis Tower to get its first facelift

Work on the Willis Tower renovation is due to begin later this month
Work on the Willis Tower renovation is due to begin later this month
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The Willis Tower renovation plans were announced by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, in addition to developers Blackstone and Equity Office
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The Willis Tower renovation plans were announced by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, in addition to developers Blackstone and Equity Office
The renovation for Willis Tower has a budget of $500 million
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The renovation for Willis Tower has a budget of $500 million
Work on the Willis Tower renovation is due to begin later this month
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Work on the Willis Tower renovation is due to begin later this month
Originally designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1973, the Willis Tower was an amazing engineering achievement at the time that still impresses almost half a century later
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Originally designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1973, the Willis Tower was an amazing engineering achievement at the time that still impresses almost half a century later
The Willis Tower rises to a height of 1,451 ft (442 m)
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The Willis Tower rises to a height of 1,451 ft (442 m)
The Willis Tower was the world's tallest building until surpassed by Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers 1998 – not a bad run
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The Willis Tower was the world's tallest building until surpassed by Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers 1998 – not a bad run
The iconic Willis Tower is now 43 years old and due for its first facelift
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The iconic Willis Tower is now 43 years old and due for its first facelift
Three subterranean floors of retail and entertainment space center will be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the Willis Tower
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Three subterranean floors of retail and entertainment space center will be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the Willis Tower
The reconfiguration of existing floorspace, such as a fitness center, lounges, private event space and concierge services, are among the changes slated for the Willis Tower
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The reconfiguration of existing floorspace, such as a fitness center, lounges, private event space and concierge services, are among the changes slated for the Willis Tower
The plan also calls for new retail, dining and entertainment space to be added to the base of the Willis Tower 
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The plan also calls for new retail, dining and entertainment space to be added to the base of the Willis Tower 
Inside Willis Tower's new three story glass structure 
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Inside Willis Tower's new three story glass structure 
Three subterranean floors of retail and entertainment space center will be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the Willis Tower
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Three subterranean floors of retail and entertainment space center will be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the Willis Tower
Willis Towers' existing 103rd floor glass-bottomed Skydeck Chicago experience, will be upgraded
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Willis Towers' existing 103rd floor glass-bottomed Skydeck Chicago experience, will be upgraded

Plans have been unveiled to renovate Chicago's iconic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). The skyscraper's $500 million modernization is being led by Gensler and will involve the addition of plush new tenant-only amenities, an upgraded observation point and a three story glass structure at its entrance.

Originally designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Willis Tower was an amazing engineering achievement when completed in 1973 that still impresses almost half a century later.

It reaches a height of 1,451 ft (442 m) and was the world's tallest building from completion until being surpassed by Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers in 1998. It's still the USA's second-tallest tower, after SOM's One World Trade Center, and is currently rated 12th tallest in the world by the CTBUH.

Gensler's renovation plans will transform the Willis Tower's plaza in an attempt to make it more inviting to passersby. A large new three story glass structure will be installed atop the skyscraper's existing stone entrance and three subterranean floors will also be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the tower. New retail, dining and entertainment spaces will be created at the base of the building, too.

Three subterranean floors of retail and entertainment space center will be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the Willis Tower
Three subterranean floors of retail and entertainment space center will be added, in addition to a winter garden with unobstructed views of the Willis Tower

Additional changes include the reconfiguration of existing floorspace within the tower to produce new exclusive tenant amenities, such as a fitness center, lounges, private event space and concierge services.

A substantial new outdoor deck and garden space will also be created and the building's existing 103rd floor glass-bottomed Skydeck Chicago observation boxes will be upgraded, though we've no word on what exactly this will entail.

The renovation plans were announced by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, alongside developers Blackstone and Equity Office. Gensler will be working with Gonzalez Architects, Hetzel Design, and Turner Clayco. Work is due to begin on the renovation project later this month. The expected date of completion has not been revealed.

Source: Willis Tower

1 comment
Paul Anthony
Wow, 500 million... 1/2 a Billion! I just can't perceive that much money.
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