John Hancock Center

From Academic Kids

Several buildings bear this name. They were all built by John Hancock Insurance, named after John Hancock. If you are looking for the John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massachusetts, see John Hancock Tower
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The John Hancock Center among other buildings as seen from the Sears Tower in Chicago

The John Hancock Center in Chicago, Illinois is a one-hundred story, 1,127ft (344 m) tall skyscraper designed by structural Engineer Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and when completed in 1969, was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City. It is the 3rd tallest skyscraper in Chicago and the 4th largest in the United States. The building is home to offices and restaurants, as well as more than 700 apartments and contains the highest residences in the world. The first residential lease for the Hancock building was signed by Benjamin Gingiss, who lived in the building until his death.

The 95th floor has long been home to a fine restaurant, the latest incarnation being called The Signature Room on the 95th Floor. While patrons dine, they can look out the windows overlooking Chicago and Lake Michigan. The Hancock Center's observation facilities comptete with the Sears Tower Skydeck across town. The Hancock Center is located in a commercial district, while the Sears Tower is located in the financial district. On the 44th floor, there is a skylobby containing America's highest indoor swimming pool.

The Hancock Center is also home to an observation deck with exhibits about the city of Chicago. Maps explain what the visitor is seeing and a special meshed in area allows the visitors to feel the winds 1,000 feet above ground level. By comparison, the Sears Tower Skydeck offers a view from 1,353 feet.

The Skyscraper's distinctive X-bracing exterior eliminates the need for inner support beams which greatly increases the usable floor area. This has made the John Hancock Center an architectural icon. The Interior was remodeled in 1995, making the lobby feature rich travertine marble and textured limestone surfaces. The elliptical-shaped plaza outside the building serves as a public oasis with seasonal plantings and a 12-foot waterfall. A band of white lights at the top of the building is visible all over Chicago at night and changes colors for different holidays.

The building is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. It also has won various awards for its distinctive style, including the Distinguished Architects 25 Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in May of 1999.

On March 9, 2002, a scaffolding fell 43 stories after being torn loose by 60 mph wind gusts. It crushed several cars and killed three people on the street.

The John Hancock Center was erected on the site of Cap Streeter's shanty.

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Night view of Chicago looking north from the Hancock observation deck in Chicago

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