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Willis Tower

233 South Wacker Drive
Chicago IL United States

Status:built
Construction Dates
  Began1970
  Finished1974
Floor Count108
Basement Floors3
Floor Area418,064 m²
Building Uses
 - office
 - communication
 - observation
Structural Types
 - highrise
 - tube
Architectural Style
 - international
Materials
 - glass
 - steel
 - aluminium
 - concrete, reinforced

 Heights ValueSource / Comments 
Antenna1730 ftFCC Reg. #1032959, CTBUH
West antenna
Lower antenna1710 ftFCC Reg. #1032960
East antenna
Antenna mounts1518 ft
Original construction
Roof1451 ftCTBUH / CBD
Main roof1432 ftbuilding blueprints
main roof deck
Observation deck1353 ftbuilding blueprints
103 floor deck
90th floor1186 ftChicago Building Dept.
Upper level setbacks
66th floor874 ftChicago Building Dept.
Middle level setbacks
50th floor658 ftChicago Building Dept.
Lower level setbacks
Ground level0 ft
Wacker Drive entrance
Back-4 ft
Franklin Street entrance
Basement-43 ftOfficial website
Sea level-595 ftFCC Reg. #1032959

Description
• Originally the Willis Tower was going to be two twin towers occupying the site at half the height of the current tower.

• When completed as the Sears Tower in 1973 it surpassed One World Trade Center in New York City, completed earlier that year as the World’s Tallest Building. It stayed the WTB from 1973 to 1996, where the Petronas Towers in Malaysia surpassed it, although this was only possible because of the spires atop the buildings, counting by roof height the Willis Tower remained the tallest until 2003 when Taipei 101 in Taiwan was completed, 19 feet taller than the Willis Tower’s roof.

• The building's structure is a "bundled tube" system of nine squares with sides of 75 feet (for an overall width of 225 x 225 ft btw. exterior column lines and 229' at outside faces). Height to width ratio is 6.45:1. The tower was completed for $160 Million and used 76,000 tons of steel, 72,000 cubic yards of concrete, 17,500 tons of mechanical equipment. At peak construction, over 2,400 workers were on site representing 60 different subcontractors. There are 76 single-deck elevators in addition to 14 double-deck elevators, bringing the total to 104 cabs. Other impressive quantities include 25,000 miles of plumbing and 2,000 miles of electrical wire.

• The building has been climbed up twice, by Dan Goodwin in 1981 and by Alain Robert in 1999.

• Sears is no longer headquartered in this building, having sold the building and moved out to Hoffman Estates, Illinois in 1992.

• The "Skydeck Pavilion" entrance on Wacker Drive was added in 1985, the large antennas in 1982, and the 4 HDTV antennas in 1999 (or thereabouts). Extra height was added to the western antenna on 5th June 2000.

• The Willis Tower has become one of America’s most iconic skyscrapers, appearing in several movies, books, and television shows since its completion in 1973.

• The building was officially renamed the Willis Tower on July 16, 2009, after a London-based holdings firm retained the naming rights along with leasing space on multiple floors within the building.

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Companies
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP - Architect
  Bruce Graham, design partner
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP - Structural engineer
  Fazlur Khan
Sears Roebuck & Co. - Developer
  
  

Drawing by Someformofhuman
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