Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Jeanne GANG - AQUA Tower
The Aqua Tower is an 86-story mixed-use residential skyscraper located on the 200 block of North Columbus Drive, and is surrounded by high-rises. Designed by a team led by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, the building is the tallest in the world to have a woman as lead architect, at 859 ft (262 m). To capture views of nearby landmarks for Aqua's residents, Gang stretched its balconies outward by as much as 12 feet (3.7 meters). The result is a building composed of irregularly shaped concrete floor slabs which lend the facade an undulating, sculptural quality. Gang cites the striated limestone outcroppings that are a common topographic feature of the Great Lakes region as inspiration for these slabs. The building will contain 55,000 square feet (5,100 square meters) of retail and office space, in addition to 215 hotel rooms (floors 1-18), 476 rental residential units (floors 19-52), and 263 condominium units & Penthouses (floors 53-81). Aqua will also be the first downtown building to combine condos, apartments and a hotel. Strategic Hotels & Resorts had agreed to acquire the first 15 floors of hotel space upon completion of the building, but terminated its $84 million contract for the space in August 2008, citing significant changes in the economic environment. On May 12, 2010, it was announced that Carlson Hotels Worldwide agreed to spend $125 million to open the first Radisson Blu hotel in the United States on 18 vacant floors of the highrise. The name 'Aqua' was assigned to the building by Magellan Development Group LLC. It fits the nautical theme of the other buildings in the Lakeshore East development, and is derived from the wave-like forms of the balconies; the tower's proximity to nearby Lake Michigan also influenced the name. Sustainability was an important factor in Aqua's design. Gang and her team refined the terrace extensions to maximize solar shading, and other sustainable features will include rainwater collection systems and energy-efficient lighting. The green roof on top of the tower base will be the largest in Chicago. The tower will seek LEED certification. The Aqua was named the Emporis Skyscraper Award 2009 skyscraper of the year and was shortlisted in 2010 for the biannual International Highrise Award.