Design expands the role of Aon Center from office building to community asset, with the potential to generate $30 million in annual revenue.
With an inspired design and boundary-breaking engineering, Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) is transforming the Chicago cityscape with a remarkable addition to Aon Center: a glass-sheathed elevator rising up an outside corner of the tower. Construction on the project—the tallest elevator of its kind in North America—begins in Spring 2019, with completion expected in 2021.
Anchored at every fourth floor to the northwest corner of the 83-story building, a glass shaft houses a pair of glass-walled, double-deck elevators which will transport visitors 1,000 vertical feet in approximately 60 seconds. Once at the crown of the building, they will be able to take in a view of the city never before available, a panorama encompassing Millennium Park, Lake Michigan, and the Loop. The Observatory at Aon Center will be Chicago’s third public observatory, joining the Willis Tower Skydeck and 360 Chicago at The John Hancock Center.
At street level, the SCB-designed entry pavilion is the point of access for the observatory elevators, efficiently initiating the visitor experience while preserving access to the building lobby exclusively for tenants. In addition to ticketing functions, the pavilion offers prime retail and entertainment opportunities. The pavilion’s bold geometric composition—a glazed enclosure topped by a sloping, silver-metal roof—complements the minimalist design of the tower, which was designed by Edward Durrell Stone in 1974 as the Standard Oil Building.
Tall-building specialists in commercial, residential, and hospitality sectors, SCB has played key design roles in the stewardship of several Chicago architectural landmarks, including creating a rooftop amenity deck for One Prudential Plaza and a lobby update for the John Hancock Center.
The 601 W Companies is the owner of Aon Center. Design team members for The Observatory at Aon Center, in addition to SCB, include The Hettema Group (observatory designer), Legends Hospitality (observatory operator), MKA (structural engineer), and Cosentini Associates (mechanical engineer).
Article courtesy of Solomon Cordwell Buenz
SCB is an architecture, interior design, and planning firm that practices nationally from offices in Chicago and San Francisco. Since 1931, SCB has made a lasting impact on the nation’s skylines, campuses, and neighborhoods, helping its clients across the country achieve their goals, serve their constituencies, and make their mark. For more information, visit www.scb.com