Studio Gang Architects design Aqua Tower in Chicago
In an increasingly dense city like Chicago, views from a new tower must be negotiated between existing buildings. Aqua Tower considers criteria such as views, solar shading and function to derive a vertical system of contours that gives the structure its sculptural form. Its vertical topography is defined by its outdoor terraces that gradually change in plan over the length of the tower. These terraces offer a strong connection to the outdoors and allow inhabitants to occupy the building façade and city simultaneously. The result is a highly sculptural building when viewed obliquely that transforms into a slender rectangle from further away. Its powerful form suggests the limestone outcroppings and geologic forces that shaped the great lakes region.
The façade will be glass with undulating balconies which change slightly from floor to floor giving it a rippling effect. The balconies will extend as far as 12 feet (3.7 meters) from the glass wall in some places.
The building will contain 55,000 square feet (5,100 square meter) of retail and office space, in addition to 210 hotels rooms (floors 1-18), 476 rental residential units (floors 19-52), and 263 condominium units & Penthouses (floors 53-80). Aqua will also be the first downtown building to combine condos, apartments and a hotel. Strategic Hotels & Resorts has agreed to acquire the first 15 floors of hotel space upon completion of the building.