The latest sky-high attraction in Chicago has opened at the SOM-designed John Hancock Center. Completed in 1969, the 1,127ft-high skyscraper recently welcomed a modern tourist attraction at its 94th-floor John Hancock Observatory, now renamed 360 CHICAGO.
Designed by Thornton Tomasetti with Gensler, Turner, ESD and façade specialists Cupples, TILT is a dramatic feat of engineering that allows visitors to mount a movable section of the façade which is then tilted to a 30-degree angle, giving a unique perspective of the street below and wider Chicago skyline.
TILT is essentially a 26ft-wide form composed of a stationary base structure and a movable viewing platform. The base is connected to the existing steel structure while the platform rotates on one axis, supported at three locations by the fixed structure. A trio of overhead hydraulic actuators extend to rotate the platform 30 degrees beyond the face of the tower.
Thornton Tomasetti details: “The viewing window is composed of several layers of reinforced, fully tempered glass panels. A similar system of layered reinforced glass forms a partial roof to prevent weather and debris from entering and exiting the space. Patrons stand in one of eight individual partitions along the length of the platform.”