The folks that operate the Sears Tower (now Willis) in Chicago got this crazy idea in their heads for how to drum up business for the well- known tourist attraction in the post 911 environment. The result is the Ledge, four glass bottom boxes that extend out from the building’s 103 floor Skydeck that will allow visitors to literally stand on air as they take in the views of the city beyond and now below. The inspiration for the project came from the hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on the Skydeck’s windows every week, clamoring to get the penultimate view.
Designed by SOM, the boxes, which are located on the tower’s west side, and are fully retractable to aid in window-washing, will extend 4.3 feet out from the building’s facade. Each box is comprised of three layers of half-inch thick glass, and will hold about five tons, well beyond their expected capacity.
The Ledge, which is part of the skyscraper’s $multimillion renovation, opens in June.