Monument: Aqua Tower
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Architect: Studio Gang Architects
The Aqua Tower a contemporary tower with a tactility reminiscent of another Chicago icon, Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, is the work of 2011 MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang.
The distinct look of the Aqua Tower was inspired by naturally carved shore-line rock formations prominent in the northern Great Lakes region. Undulating curves define balconies that compose the façade and give way to views of Chicago landmarks far and near. These balconies also allow residents to simultaneously inhabit the collective façade while experiencing an outdoor urban environment specific to each dwelling. A fully glazed rectangular perimeter is inscribed within the sinuous slab providing flexible interior spaces. In total, six glazing types are used throughout the tower to minimize solar loads.The firm’s continuing research into birds’ flight paths manifests itself in the use of fritted glass to minimize avian fatalities.
Aqua is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman as lead architect. It is also Chicago’s first truly hybrid structure, containing within it residential typologies such as apartments, condos, and townhouses, as well as a hotel.