Sunday, January 09, 2011

The John Hancock Center

Once the tallest building in Chicago and the United States, the striking John Hancock Center's rank has fallen to fourth and sixth, respectively. It currently ranks as the twenty-seventh tallest building in the world. No matter, the Hancock Center's design with its exterior X-bracing makes it distinctive among the world's skyscrapers.

The John Hancock Center (right) with its distinctive bracing and twin antennas.

I once heard that those of the building's seven hundred condominiums that include a diagonal brace element in their windows actually went for a higher price than those that don't. I can't verify that it's true, but it sounds like a good marketing ploy. In addition to condos, the one hundred story building includes offices and restaurants.

I've been up in the observation deck once and to one of the incarnations of a bar up top another time. When we went up to the bar, the welcome was less than warm. Obviously the bar is a popular tourist destination, and it was very crowded. The staff made the crowded conditions worse by treating us and others as if we were bothering them. They made it clear that they thought we were privileged to be allowed to spend our money there. We didn't stay long.

Still, it's a pretty neat building (notice the use of highly technical architectural terminology there).

This is the second in a brief series of photos that I took while visiting Chicago in June 1996. They're 35mm color slides that I've scanned and digitized.


  1. We also have a John Hancock tower in Boston with an equally unfriendly bar as well. Must be a requirement.

  2. I'm really enjoying your Chicago pics.

  3. I lived only a few blocks away from it. It was always good for in-town guests.

  4. I'm REALLY itching to go to Chicago again, especially to go to the art museum. I've been two or three times, but I feel like I wasted those experiences, not really knowing what there was to see and do there. I may go when Amy H./Amy Plum comes to do her book signing in Chicago :)) Also, I believe that there is an upcoming exhibit of something French and medieval at the art institute... I MUST GO! Thanks for this inspiration :)


  5. Nice to see some photos of my home! I like the unusual shot of the Water Tower--never really looked at the very top before.

    Chicago has changed a lot--and has been much more in the global spotlight thanks to President Obama. It's not Paris, but it is definitely a world-class city.

  6. I, too, wish I had seen more of Chicago when we lived in Libertyville (about 20 miles north). We took in Lake Shore Drive each visit and many times to the Art Institue, Field Museum and once to the Natural History Museum. Our lives were pretty hectic then, but just the same, when I see your photos, I want to return, just like you, Seine Judeet!

  7. rick, yes, I like that building. But Boston is filled with amazing buildings. Funny about the bar...

    cubby, cool! Thanks!

    michael, nice neighborhood!

    judy, I've never been to the Art Institute, but I have been to the Science and Industry museum and the Alder Planetarium (although only to the exhibits, not a sky show). I must go back!

    fashion survivor, the changes over the past thirty years are amazing. A dynamic place.

    mary, one of these days!


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.