Formerly: Amoco Building Formerly: Standard Oil Building Built: 1970-1972 Cost: $120,000,000.00 Designed by: Edward Durell Stone & Associates and Perkins and Will Corporation Type: Skyscraper Stories: 83 Maximum height: 1,136 feet / 346 meters Location: 200 East Randolph, Chicago, United States
W ell known in Chicagoland, but not so well known elsewhere, the Aon Center is the quiet, dignified supertall in the Chicago skyline. It lacks the flashy spires of Sears and Hancock, and instead goes for vertical stripes to add extra visual height to its already impressive stature. From a distance, the building feels like another boring grey 1970’s stone block. But to really appreciate the Aon Center, you have to walk right up to it and crane your neck to see the top. Fortunately, this is possible thanks to a sunken plaza in front of the building with some rather extensive fountain work. This creates an area that is a pleasure for people on hot summer days, while at the same time protects the building from would-be truck bombers. Height and location give the Aon Center’s tenants remarkable views in all directions. People facing south look over Grant Park; people with west-facing windows can look at The Loop; people with eastern exposures are treated to Lake Michigan sunrises and boating activities; and people on the northern face get to look up the Magnificent Mile and the Chicago coastline. But the news hasn’t always been bright for the Aon Center. In fact, it has been routinely maligned in the print media. At first, critics called the building’s design bland and uninspired. Later, things started going wrong with the building. Most famously, just after the building was completed, its famed marble façade began to buckle. Stainless steel straps were wrapped around the building to keep any large chunks from falling off. It was all replaced with white granite at a cost of $60,000,000.00 – half what it cost to build the tower in the first place. That left the owners with 5,900 tons of unwanted marble. Some was turned into trinkets like paperweights. Some was donated to a company that makes trophies. A lot was used in landscaping at Governors State University, and at Amoco facilities across the nation.
»In addition to the 83-stories above ground, there are five underground levels.
»At the time of its completion, this was the fourth-tallest building in the world.
»The building has about 2,500,000 square feet of rentable space.
»The building’s original marble façade was from Carrara, the same Italian quarry used by Michaelangelo for his masterpiece “David.”
»1974 – A slab of marble façade comes off the building and plunges through the roof of the Prudential Center Annex.
»1989-1992 – All 43,000 marble panels comprising the building’s façade are replaced with granite from North Carolina. The marble panels were buckling and coming loose because of the harsh Chicago winters. It cost between $60- and $80,000,000.00 to replace all the stone.
»November, 1991 – A routine inspection finds that two steel columns in the building’s lobby have to be reinforced. The Chicago Tribune reports that although building officials say there is no danger, additional steel plates are welded to the columns in question.
»1998 – The Amoco Building is sold. The exact price is never made public, but estimated to be between $430,000,000.00 and $440,000,000.00.
»1 January, 2001 – The building’s name is changed to Aon Center.
»May, 2003 – The Aon Center is sold for $465,000,000.00.
Friday, April 27th, 2007 @ 10:06pm
Rating: Five stars. One of the best in the US behind the Hancock. Big Stan really deserves some credit.
Thursday, December 7th, 2006 @ 8:37pm
Rating: Five stars. The Aon Center is a building you have to love to hate. its such a cold building, but has a very nice plaza at the base.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 @ 6:34am
Rating: Four stars. My feeling for this building has nothing to do with the WTC, it has to do with how the building soars. In my opinion no building in Chicago feels taller when looking at it from the base then this one. With no setbacks or tapers, the entire height of the building is viewable from the great plaza at the base.
Thursday, April 20th, 2006 @ 2:41pm
Rating: Two stars. I think some people get caught up with this building's apparent similarity to the WTC. (COMPLETELY different structural system, thank God.) Don't let emotion get in the way of the fact that this building has never found an audience; perhaps because it has no human reference (you just get dwarfed by the building, not invited or embraced.) Functionally, it does everything right; but I don't think anyone will ever love this building, like you do the Marquette or the Field building (now the LaSalle Bank bldg) or the BOT. (And don't get me wrong: I think the UBS and the new Hyatt are both great additions. Old ain't necessarily better.) But the AON Center just BORES me.
Monday, August 29th, 2005 @ 10:26pm
Rating: Five stars. i think it is a wonderful tower and also the closest thing we can manage to one of the twin towers. This building would be better if it had a twin and it will also honor the twin towers in new york.It gives chicago a much better skyline helping the sears tower and and the Hancock tower.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2005 @ 9:58pm
Rating: Five stars. I also gave this 70's look 5 stars. the Chicago skyline has changed over the years and this building with the other 2 Sears offsets and Hancock long taper give the Aon a difinate contrast.
Good stuff !
Wednesday, March 16th, 2005 @ 9:27am
Rating: Five stars. I really like this building even though I admit it is plain. I like it for its height, facade, and lighting at night. The plainnless is ok because this building helps to create balance in the Chicago skyline. Its location is also perfect relative to the locations of Sears and Hancock. Also worth noting is that this building has the closest resemblence to a WTC tower. I think it would be cool if they put another AON center right next to it to pay tribute to the WTC center. However, I am not sure how NYC would feel about this.
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