By Micah Jacobson
One of my favorite buildings in Chicago is a new addition to the oldest skyline; the Aqua Tower. It was designed by Jeanne Gang and a team of architects. This building stands an impressive 859 ft tall and is the tallest building with a woman as the lead architect. The unique wave effect on the sides is accomplished by using the balconies to create a contour. Some of the balconies terminate, leaving the shiny glass clad exterior of the building exposed to add to the aqua effect.
I found the building to be more impressive the closer you get to it. From the 28th floor of the hotel across the river, I could hardly see the wave effect, but from the ground, I could clearly see the smooth result of its architecture.
The building is a mixed-use residential building and features a terrace with gardens, pools, hot tubs, gazebos, and a track for exercise. It won the 2009 Emporis Skyscraper Award. It also features rain water collection and energy efficient lighting.
I was not able to examine the structure any closer, but I would love to tour it and learn more about the design. It is one of many examples of high tech building that are rising above the historical high rises built by Louis Sullivan and the Chicago School of Architects.