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The Chicago Traveler


by Matt B on January 7th, 2008

Today's architectural marvel isn't even finished yet, but the blueprints alone have many design enthusiasts buzzing. Aqua will easily be one of the most innovative and recognizable buildings in the Chicago skyline.' (Incredible photos are available here and here.)

Let's get some basic stats out of the way. Construction began in March of 2007, and the building is expected to be complete in 2009. It will stand 822 feet (251 m) tall with 87 stories and will be the first downtown building to combine condominiums, apartments, and hotel space. The first 18 floors will consist of 210 hotel rooms, the next 34 will contain rental residential units, and the top 28 floors will hold 263 condos and penthouses. (Strategic Hotels & Resorts, the same company which operates the Fairmont Hotel across the street, has agreed to acquire the first 15 floors of hotel space upon completion.)

But what will make this structure so unique are its balconies. Extending as much as 12 feet from the tower's perimeter, the balconies undulate and change slightly from floor to floor, forming a rippling surface. This ground-breaking design makes for a complicated construction, as every floorplate is unique. In fact, the framework for the curving edges will be guided by a global positioning system (GPS). All that hard work is certainly appreciated though, and I for one can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Aqua: 225 N Columbus Dr; 312-565-9600
Public trans: Bus # 3, X4, 4, 20, 26, 60, 143, 145, 147, 148, 151, 157
Orange/Purple/Pink/Green/Brown Line train (Randolph)
Metra train Electric Line (Millennium Station)

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POSTED IN: Architecture & Attractions, Hotels

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