John Hancock Center
|John Hancock Center|
The John Hancock Center
|Architectural style||Structural Expressionism|
The Hearn Company
|Architectural||1,127 ft (344 m)|
|Tip||1,506 ft (459 m)|
|Roof||1,127 ft (344 m)|
|Top floor||1,054 ft (321 m)|
|Observatory||1,030 ft (314 m)|
|Floor area||2,799,973 sq ft (260,126 m2)|
|Lifts/elevators||50, made by Otis Elevator Company|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Skidmore, Owings and Merrill|
|Developer||John Hancock Insurance|
|Main contractor||Tishman Construction Co.|
The John Hancock Center is a 100-story, 1,127-foot (344 m) tall skyscraper, located at 875 North Michigan Avenue in the Streeterville area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was constructed under the supervision of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, with chief designer Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan. When the building topped out on May 6, 1968, it was the tallest building in the world outside New York City. It is currently the fourth-tallest building in Chicago and the seventh-tallest in the United States (after One World Trade Center, the Willis Tower, the Trump Tower Chicago, the Empire State Building, the Bank of America Tower, and the Aon Center). When measured to the top of its antenna masts, it stands at 1,506 feet (459 m). The building is home to offices and restaurants, as well as about 700 condominiums, and contains the third highest residence (above adjacent ground level) in the world, after the Trump Tower (also in Chicago), and the Burj Khalifa (in Dubai). The building was named for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, a developer and original tenant of the building, and has the nickname "Big John".
The 95th floor has long been home to a restaurant, the latest tenant being "The Signature Room on the 95th Floor". Diners can look out at Chicago and Lake Michigan. The Observatory attraction (called "360 Chicago" since March 2014) competes with the Willis Tower's Skydeck across town. John Hancock Center is in the heart of Michigan Avenue, a prime tourist hotspot in Chicago, while the Willis Tower is in the financial district. John Hancock Observatory allows a 360° view of the city, up to four states, and a distance of over 80 miles (130 km). The Observatory has Chicago's only open-air SkyWalk and also features a free multimedia tour in six languages, narrated by actor David Schwimmer. The 44th-floor sky lobby features America's highest indoor swimming pool.
The project, which would at that time become the world's second tallest building, was originally conceived of and owned by Jerry Wolman in late 1964, the project being financed by John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. Construction of the tower was interrupted in 1967 due to a flaw in an innovative engineering method used to pour concrete in stages that was discovered when the building was 20 stories high. The engineers were getting the same soil settlements for the 20 stories that had been built as what they had expected for the entire 99 stories. This forced the owner to stop development until the engineering problem could be resolved, and resulted in a credit crunch. This situation is similar to the one currently being experienced with the construction of Waterview Tower. The owner went bankrupt, which resulted in John Hancock taking over the project, which retained the original design, architect, engineer, and main contractor.
The building's first resident was Ray Heckla, the original building engineer, responsible for the residential floors from 44 to 92. Heckla moved his family 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 building's exterior wall. 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.
The John Hancock Center was featured in the 1988 movie Poltergeist III.
On March 9, 2002, part of a scaffold fell 43 stories after being torn loose by wind gusts around 60 mph (100 km/h) crushing several cars, 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 below.
On December 10, 2006, the non-residential portion of the building was sold by San Francisco based Shorenstein Properties LLC for $385 million and was purchased by a joint venture of Chicago-based Golub & Company and the Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds. Shorenstein had bought the building in 1998 for $220 million.
In June 2013, a venture of Chicago-based real estate investment firm Hearn Co., New York-based investment firm Mount Kellett Capital Management L.P. and San Antonio-based developer Lynd Co. closed on the expected acquisition of the Hancock's 856,000 square feet of office space and 710-car parking deck. The Chicago firm did not disclose a price, but sources said it was about $145 million.
The previous owners fetched about $410 million through an unusual process in which it sold off the tower at 875 N. Michigan Ave. in four separate pieces to widen the pool of potential buyers. The office and parking portion was the last step in that piecemeal sale process. The venture of Deutsche Bank AG and New York-based NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. paid an estimated $325 million for debt on the Hancock in 2012 after its previous owners defaulted on $400 million in loans. The NorthStar-Deutsche Bank venture already had sold the retail and restaurant space, the observatory and the broadcast antennas for a combined $256 million in three previous deals.
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 Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. The record time as of 2007 is 9 minutes 30 seconds.
On April 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. WYCC-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 Willis Tower.
One of the most famous buildings of the structural expressionist style, the skyscraper's distinctive X-braced exterior shows that the structure's skin is part of its 'tubular system'. This is one of the engineering techniques which the designers used to achieve a record height (the tubular system is the structure that keeps the building 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. Such original features 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.
The building is protected by a fire sprinkler system.
The interior was remodeled in 1995, adding to the lobby travertine, black granite, 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 lights 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 Chicago-area sports team goes far in the playoffs, the colors are changed to match the team's colors.
The building is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. It has won various awards for its distinctive style, including the Distinguished Architects Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in May 1999.
Including two antennas, the John Hancock Center has a height of 1,499 feet (457.2 m), making it the thirty-third tallest building in the world when measured to pinnacle height. The Observatory elevators of the John Hancock center, manufactured by Otis, travel 96 floors at a top speed of 1,800 ft/min (20.5 mph).
Located on the 94th floor, 360° Chicago is the John Hancock Center's observatory. The floor of the observatory is 1,030 feet off of street-level below.The entrance can be found on the concourse level of the John Hancock Center; mainly accessible by the Michigan Avenue side of the building. The observatory, previously called the John Hancock Observatory, has been independently owned and operated since 2014 by the Montparnasse 56 Group out of Paris, France. The elevators are credited to be the fastest in the Western Hemisphere, at a top speed of 1,800 ft/min (20.5 mph). The observatory boasts larger floor space than its direct competitor, Skydeck at the Willis Tower. In addition, 360° Chicago has a cafe by Lavazza Coffee which stocks alcoholic beverages as well. The cafe is scheduled to be closed between January 15th, 2015 until approximately May 1st, 2015, for renovation. In the summer of 2014, 360° Chicago added it's TILT attraction. The TILT platform is an additional fee, and is a series of floor to ceiling windows that slowly tilt outside the building to 30°. The platform is on the observatory level, and faces south over the city. This observatory sees less attendance than the Skydeck at the Willis Tower, leading to a quieter and quicker experience.
Tenants and businesses
- Accent Chicago
- Best Buy
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Cimaglia Productions
- Consulate-General of Chile in Chicago, Suite 3352
- Consulate General of Denmark, Chicago, Suite 3950
- Elephants, Etc.
- Big Shoulders Digital Video Production
- Exclusively Gourmet, Ltd.
- Etihad Airways (31st Floor)
- Fingers & Toes Nail Salon
- Gateway Newsstand & Snack Shop
- Golin (PR firm), Suite 2600 
- Hanig's Footwear
- 360° Chicago
- Laurichem Inc., Suite 8609
- Jamba Juice
- The North Face
- The Signature Room at the 95th
- Regus, Suite 3100
- Qatar Airways, Suite 1310
- Weber Shandwick, Suite 2400 
- WDRV 97.1, Classic Rock Radio Station, Suite 1510
- FCB (advertising agency) 
Panorama of the skyline of Chicago
A view of Lake Michigan from the observatory in the Hancock Center
- Architecture of Chicago
- List of buildings and structures
- List of tallest buildings in the world
- List of tallest buildings in Chicago
- List of tallest buildings in the United States
- List of tallest buildings and structures in the world
- List of tallest freestanding structures in the world
- List of buildings with 100 floors or more
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- John Hancock Center at Emporis
- "John Hancock Center". Emporis.com. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- p. 422, American Architecture: A History, Leland M. Roth, Westview Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8133-3662-7
- "The John Hancock Center: 875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois". Chicago Architecture Info. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- "The John Hancock Center". Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- "John Hancock Insurance". Academic dictionaries and encyclopedias (in Russian). Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- Malooley, Jake (January 30, 2014). "John Hancock Observatory to rebrand as 360 Chicago". Time Out Chicago.
- "Hancock Observatory tour, Schwimmer included". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- Jerry Wolman: The World's Richest Man, Joseph Bokol, Richard Bokol, 2012
- Headliners Higher and Higher Published: 15 November 1981, New York Times
- "Sears Tower". Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- "Chris Farley: Trivia". TV.com. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
- "Chicago Ghosts". Chicago Hauntings Tours. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
- Golub Real Estate Investment and Development
- "WYCC-Channel 20 goes all-digital early". Chicago Sun-Times.
- John Hancock Center "Contractor & Vendor Rules and Regulations, June 2013"
- "Twenty Five Year Award Recipients". American Institute of Architects. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- "Plan Your Visit". 360 Chicago. 360 Chicago. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "History of the John Hancock". 360 Chicago. 360 Chicago. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "Cafe at 360 Chicago". 360 Chicago. 360 chicago. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "TILT". 360 chicago. 360 Chicago. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "New Best Buy Opens in John Hancock Center on Chicago's Famous Magnificent Mile". Yahoo! News. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- "John Hancock Center Chicago". Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- "Oficinas Consulares en Estados Unidos." Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C. Accessed 31 January 2009
- "Consulate General of Denmark - Chicago." Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accessed 7 May 2012
- "Our offices." (Select United States of America) Etihad Airways. Accessed 11 February 2010
- Hanig's Footwear, website
- The Signature Room at the 95th, website
- "Chicago." Qatar Airways. Accessed 9 February 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Hancock Center.|
- John Hancock Center
- Web site of the "Hancock Observatory"
- John Hancock Center on CTBUH Skyscraper Center
- John Hancock Center on SOM.com
- 175 East Delaware Place HOA website
- John Hancock Center at Structurae
- Entry in greatbuildings.com
- Web site of the "Signature Room" restaurant
- Web site of Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat"
Richard J. Daley Center
|Tallest building in Chicago
|Tallest building in the United States outside of New York City