394
Global
Height rank
Aqua at Lakeshore East
Chicago
Height

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely utilized and is employed to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) rankings of the "World's Tallest Buildings."

1
To Tip:

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element (i.e., including antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment).

261.8 m / 859 ft
2
Architectural:

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely utilized and is employed to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) rankings of the "World's Tallest Buildings."

261.8 m / 859 ft
3
Occupied:

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest occupied floor within the building.

250.6 m / 822 ft
1 2 3 Aqua at Lakeshore East Outline
Floors

The number of floors above ground should include the ground floor level and be the number of main floors above ground, including any significant mezzanine floors and major mechanical plant floors. Mechanical mezzanines should not be included if they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Similarly, mechanical penthouses or plant rooms protruding above the general roof area should not be counted. Note: CTBUH floor counts may differ from published accounts, as it is common in some regions of the world for certain floor levels not to be included (e.g., the level 4, 14, 24, etc. in Hong Kong).

Above Ground

The number of floors above ground should include the ground floor level and be the number of main floors above ground, including any significant mezzanine floors and major mechanical plant floors. Mechanical mezzanines should not be included if they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Similarly, mechanical penthouses or plant rooms protruding above the general roof area should not be counted. Note: CTBUH floor counts may differ from published accounts, as it is common in some regions of the world for certain floor levels not to be included (e.g., the level 4, 14, 24, etc. in Hong Kong).

86
Below Ground

The number of floors below ground should include all major floors located below the ground floor level.

1
Height 261.75 m / 859 ft
Floors 86
Official Name

The current legal building name.

Aqua at Lakeshore East
Other Names

Other names the building has commonly been known as, including former names, common informal names, local names, etc.

Aqua Tower
Name of Complex

A complex is a group of buildings which are designed and built as pieces of a greater development.

Type

CTBUH collects data on two major types of tall structures: 'Buildings' and 'Telecommunications / Observation Towers.' A 'Building' is a structure where at least 50% of the height is occupied by usable floor area. A 'Telecommunications / Observation Tower' is a structure where less than 50% of the structure's height is occupied by usable floor area. Only 'Buildings' are eligible for the CTBUH 'Tallest Buildings' lists.

Building
Status
Completed
Architecturally Topped Out
Structurally Topped Out
Under Construction
Proposed
On Hold
Never Completed
Vision
Competition Entry
Canceled
Proposed Renovation
Under Renovation
Renovated
Under Demolition
Demolished
Completed, 2009
Country

The CTBUH follows the United Nations's definition of Country, and thus uses the lists and codes established by that organization.

City

The CTBUH follows the United Nations's definition of City, and thus uses the lists and codes established by that organization.

Postal Code
60601
Function

A single-function tall building is defined as one where 85% or more of its usable floor area is dedicated to a single usage. Thus a building with 90% office floor area would be said to be an "office" building, irrespective of other minor functions it may also contain.

A mixed-use tall building contains two or more functions (or uses), where each of the functions occupy a significant proportion of the tower's total space. Support areas such as car parks and mechanical plant space do not constitute mixed-use functions. Functions are denoted on CTBUH "Tallest Building" lists in descending order, e.g., "hotel/office" indicates hotel function above office function.

residential / hotel
Structural Material

Steel
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from steel. Note that a building of steel construction with a floor system of concrete planks or concrete slab on top of steel beams is still considered a “steel” structure as the concrete elements are not acting as the primary structure.

Reinforced Concrete
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from concrete which has been cast in place and utilizes steel reinforcement bars.

Precast Concrete
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning system are constructed from steel reinforced concrete which has been precast as individual components and assembled together on-site.

Mixed-Structure
Utilizes distinct systems (e.g. steel, concrete, timber), one on top of the other. For example, a steel/concrete indicates a steel structural system located on top of a concrete structural system, with the opposite true of concrete/steel.

Composite
A combination of materials (e.g. steel, concrete, timber) are used together in the main structural elements. Examples include buildings which utilize: steel columns with a floor system of reinforced concrete beams; a steel frame system with a concrete core; concrete-encased steel columns; concrete-filled steel tubes; etc. Where known, the CTBUH database breaks out the materials used in a composite building’s core, columns, and floor spanning separately.

concrete
Official Website
Height

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely utilized and is employed to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) rankings of the "World's Tallest Buildings."

Architectural
261.75 m / 859 ft
To Tip
261.75 m / 859 ft
Occupied
250.6 m / 822 ft
Floors Above Ground

The number of floors above ground should include the ground floor level and be the number of main floors above ground, including any significant mezzanine floors and major mechanical plant floors. Mechanical mezzanines should not be included if they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Similarly, mechanical penthouses or plant rooms protruding above the general roof area should not be counted. Note: CTBUH floor counts may differ from published accounts, as it is common in some regions of the world for certain floor levels not to be included (e.g., the level 4, 14, 24, etc. in Hong Kong).

86
Floors Below Ground

The number of floors below ground should include all major floors located below the ground floor level.

1
# of Apartments

Number of Apartments refers to the total number of residential units (including both rental units and condominiums) contained within a particular building.

747
# of Hotel Rooms

Number of Hotel Rooms refers to the total number of hotel rooms contained within a particular building.

334
# of Parking Spaces

Number of Parking Spaces refers to the total number of car parking spaces contained within a particular building.

1360
# of Elevators

Number of Elevators refers to the total number of elevator cars (not shafts) contained within a particular building (including public, private and freight elevators).

24
Tower GFA

Tower GFA refers to the total gross floor area within the tower footprint, not including adjoining podiums, connected buildings or other towers within the development.

184,931 m² / 1,990,581 ft²
Rankings
#
394
Tallest in the World
#
60
Tallest in North America
#
54
Tallest in United States
#
13
Tallest in Chicago
#
151
Tallest Mixed-use Building in the World
#
15
Tallest Mixed-use Building in North America
#
12
Tallest Mixed-use Building in United States
#
6
Tallest Mixed-use Building in Chicago
#
161
Tallest Concrete Building in the World
#
23
Tallest Concrete Building in North America
#
19
Tallest Concrete Building in United States
#
7
Tallest Concrete Building in Chicago
Construction Schedule
2004

Proposed

2007

Construction Start

2009

Completed

Owner
Aqua Realty Holdings LLC
Architect
Loewenberg Architects
Structural Engineer
MEP Engineer
Abbott Industries, Inc.; Advance Mechanical; Gurtz Electric Company
Contractor

Landscape

Wolff Landscape Architecture

(not specified)

EFCO Corporation

Post-Tensioning

CTBUH Awards & Distinctions

Best Tall Building Americas 2010 Award of Excellence

2010 CTBUH Awards

CTBUH Initiatives

“Living Tall” Asks: “What Will Make Tall Buildings More Livable?"


16 November 2017 - Event

Videos

17 October 2016 | Chicago

This research is focused on quantitatively investigating and comparing the environmental and social sustainability of people’s lifestyles in terms of embodied energy, operational energy use,...

Research

08 August 2017

Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects

Having designed the 262-meter Aqua in Chicago, which completed in 2009, Jeanne Gang, principal and founder of Studio Gang Architects, received considerable attention for what...

Global News

20 October 2020 | Chicago

James Loewenberg, a Chicago architect-turned-developer with a portfolio that includes the Aqua and Vista Tower skyscrapers in downtown Chicago, has died at age 86 after...

About Aqua at Lakeshore East

Unlike a tower in an open field, new towers in urban environments must negotiate small viewing corridors between existing buildings. In response to this, the Aqua Tower is designed to capture particular views that would otherwise be unattainable. A series of contours defined by outdoor terraces extends away from the face of the tower structure to provide views between neighboring buildings. The terraces inflect based on criteria such as the view, solar shading and size and type of dwelling. When viewed together, these unique terraces make the building appear to undulate, presenting a highly sculptural appearance that is rooted in function.

These outdoor terraces are cantilevered up to 4m (12ft) and have a depth of 23cm (9in) which thins out towards the edge of the cantilever to assist with water drainage. The terraces differ in shape from floor to floor causing each floor plate to differ. The challenge of constructing unique floor plates was solved by implementing a computerized civil engineering and surveying software program and digital CAD files for inputting the coordinates of each unique slab to a robotic station used onsite. This system was used to set in place light-gauge steel plate edge-forms according to the contours. After the concrete had set, these steel forms would be removed and easily reshaped according to the contours of the next level.

Among the building’s notable features is the green roof terrace atop its plinth and is one of Chicago’s largest. It contains an outdoor pool, running track, gardens, fire pits and a yoga terrace. From below, Aqua’s plinth navigates the site’s complexity by spanning over pre-existing elements, such as an electrical substation, and by aligning with existing infrastructure, including an adjacent three-level roadway. The plinth physically connects pedestrian areas with stairs and elevators linking street level to park level and the lakefront.

The tower’s east–west orientation maximizes its winter solar performance. Its balconies extend further on the southern façade to provide shading, reducing solar exposure in summer and allowing passive warming in winter. In addition to low-E coatings on all glass, the design team modeled seasonal sun patterns to identify remaining areas of glass that needed higher performing glazing to increase energy efficiency throughout the tower. Glass on the east and south façades are reflective in areas without a protective balcony, while glass facing west has a tinted coating that improves its shading coefficient. In total, Aqua employs six different types of glass: clear, tinted, reflective, spandrel, fritted and translucent, the placement of which is determined by the orientation and function of interior space. Fritted glass is used and combined with handrail design to minimize bird strikes.

The building is also constructed on a former brownfield site, and 50% of its site is dedicated green open space, exceeding Chicago’s standard zoning ordinance by 25%. This green roof is one of the largest in the city and also features a drainage system that includes water collection for its irrigation. Furthermore, Aqua exceeds the City of Chicago’s minimal requirements for natural ventilation and sunlight by more than 50% in over 90% of its spaces.

Detailed wind tunnel studies were completed to confirm the performance of the structure under high winds. Initially, it was thought that a supplemental tuned mass damping system may be required to appropriately manage the effects of the wind on occupant comfort. However, during the testing, it was discovered that the undulating slab edges disrupted or “confused” the flow of wind around the tower, effectively reducing the wind demands, and this, combined with the effectiveness of the structural design, eliminated the need for a supplemental damping system.

CTBUH Awards & Distinctions

Best Tall Building Americas 2010 Award of Excellence

2010 CTBUH Awards

17 October 2016 | Chicago

This research is focused on quantitatively investigating and comparing the environmental and social sustainability of people’s lifestyles in terms of embodied energy, operational energy use,...

27 October 2015 | Chicago

In this presentation we discuss the terms “exo-spatial design,” “solar carving,” and “bridging” as strategies for creating more socially connective tall buildings. As a typology,...

17 September 2014 | Chicago

It is widely accepted that the concentration of people in denser cities – sharing space, infrastructure, and facilities – offers much greater energy efficiency than...

16 September 2014 | Chicago

Metal claddings frequently skin our tall buildings. They provide the texture and shine that help distinguish one glass tower from the next. Like the fabric...

19 September 2012 | Chicago

The sustainability and longevity of today’s tall buildings is an often-neglected subject. Embodied carbon can be used as a metric for making important decisions regarding...

11 October 2011 | Chicago

Integrating and even celebrating the structure of a building through the architectural design often leads to dramatic and memorable buildings. To achieve the best outcome...

08 August 2017

Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects

Having designed the 262-meter Aqua in Chicago, which completed in 2009, Jeanne Gang, principal and founder of Studio Gang Architects, received considerable attention for what...

08 August 2017

Leading Women in Tall Buildings

Recently, there has been a growing and overdue recognition in the architecture discipline that women are under-represented, not just in terms of leadership positions held,...

02 June 2017

Antony Wood & Peng Du, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

This paper presents the initial findings of a ground-breaking two-year CTBUH-funded research project investigating the real environmental and social sustainability of people’s lifestyles in a...

17 October 2016

Antony Wood & Peng Du, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

This paper presents the initial findings of a ground-breaking two-year CTBUH-funded research project investigating the real environmental and social sustainability of people’s lifestyles in a...

01 June 2016

Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects

In this paper we discuss the terms “exo-spatial design,” “solar carving,” and “bridging” as strategies for creating more socially connective tall buildings. As a typology,...

26 October 2015

Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects

In this paper we discuss the terms “exo-spatial design,” “solar carving,” and “bridging” as strategies for creating more socially connective tall buildings. As a typology,...

20 October 2020 | Chicago

James Loewenberg, a Chicago architect-turned-developer with a portfolio that includes the Aqua and Vista Tower skyscrapers in downtown Chicago, has died at age 86 after...

31 March 2020 | Chicago

bKL Architecture, a firm headquartered at the Aqua tower in Chicago's Lakeshore East neighborhood, is doing its part to be of service during the COVID-19...

22 January 2019

Check out our monthly predictions based on our industry intelligence to see what trends and milestones will shape the industry in the year to come!

16 November 2017

“Living Tall” Asks: “What Will Make Tall Buildings More Livable?"

The third installment of the CTBUH / Chicago Architecture Foundation’s (CAF) joint skyscraper lecture series brought together a diverse group of tall building experts.

20 May 2016

CTBUH Hosts China Government Delegation

CTBUH was honored to host a delegation of government officials from the Shanghai Huangpu District People’s Government.

30 October 2015

CTBUH 2015 delegates toured Chicago and its architectural marvels. From recently constructed skyscrapers to the modern marvel of Willis Tower, which held the tallest title for 25 years.

17 September 2015

Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tours 2015

The CTBUH Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee organized guided walking tours of 16 cities around the globe, focusing on urban habitats around tall buildings.

1 February 2014

Study on Sustainability Implications of Urban + Suburban Location

CTBUH is conducting a research study aimed at understanding the contributing factors of “sustainability” in both urban and suburban contexts.