ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos


Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.


Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Hotels
  4. United States
  5. Studio Gang
  6. 2009
  7. Aqua Tower / Studio Gang

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang

  • 01:00 - 2 December, 2009
Aqua Tower / Studio Gang
Aqua Tower / Studio Gang, © Hedrich Blessing
© Hedrich Blessing

Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects © Hedrich Blessing © Hedrich Blessing © Hedrich Blessing +12

  • Architects

  • Location

    200 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601, United States
  • Architect

  • Architect Of Record

    Loewenberg & Associates
  • Owner

    Magellan Development
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. The skyline of Chicago can be seen as the timeline of skyscraper history, which started in 1885 with the Home Insurance Building.

The new Aqua Tower by Studio Gang is a highlight along this timeline, not just because of its height (250m tall) but also because of its sculptural condition.

The design was inspired by the striated limestone outcroppings common in the Great Lakes area (see photo below). But this sinuous shape is not just a mere formal gesture, but it is also a strategy to extend the views and maximize solar shading. And by looking at the plans we see a rational structure, true to the Mies legacy in the city.

Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects
Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects

I discovered Studio Gang in a lecture by Jeanne Gang at the 2009 AIA Convention, and I was impressed by her work. You can see our previous coverage of Studio Gang projects in ArchDaily, such as the Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre.

- 82-story mixed-use residential tower (819 ft, 250 m tall):

- 215 hotels rooms (floors 1-18)

- 476 rental residential units (floors 19-52)

© Hedrich Blessing
© Hedrich Blessing

- 263 condominium units & Penthouses (floors 53-80)

- 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) of retail and office space

- 6 levels of underground parking.

- 8-story base (140,000 sqf, 13,000m2) with a a 82,550 sq ft (7,669 m2) terrace with gardens, gazebos, pools, hot tubs, a walking/running track and fire pit.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Aqua Tower / Studio Gang" 02 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


rent celebrity Dresses for Les · September 26, 2014

s not a surprise to see the growth of this brand expand
from Canada to the USA and soon to be recognized internationally.
This prices about 50% less than what you would find the
money for an almost similar brand label dress in a
boutique. A few simple precautions forth with a few Google seekes can advise us a lot about any laser archetypal or accurate aggregation.

dock shrimp box nj · September 25, 2014

Artificial baits include spoons, jigs, ribbon baits, rattler baits & streamer baits.
Methods for baiting a hook - Step 5: Use them for fishing.
You can then take your armored vehicle and cash it in at a chop shop, creating a
nice little criminal spree combo.

hcg weight loss kit · September 21, 2014

A person is said to be over weight if his
weight is more than the requirement. It is estimated that approximately 1 in every
10,000 males and 1 in every 50,000 females has Kallmann syndrome.
The structure of the day, whether at work or at
school with a planned breakfast, lunch time and
a snack food help men and women control their eating.

Phyllis Mendoza · September 21, 2014

Great web site you have here.. It's difficult to find high
quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you!
Take care!!

moving companies jacksonville · September 20, 2014

Is it because of the lonesomeness that you're presently going through.
Whatever you do, do not get her a gift that is too forward.
Pallet racking is among the most important aspects of a modern storage place.
However, one thing you need to ensure before availing the services is that the company has a substantial list of contented
clients. According to Schwarzenegger, Russia
is considered to be a gold mind to foreign investors.
It also comes with an array of hi-tech standard features, including a rearview camera, Expanded View Driver's Mirror, Bluetooth Hands - Free - Link phone interface, SMS text messaging function, Multi-Information Display
(i-MID) and Pandora Internet Radio interface.
Leading organizations specializing in datacenter solutions offer
their clients and customers with authentic warranties.
However, being a little bit careful with good and the
people involved in shifting may help to avoid clashes between the hirers and removal companies.
Once you have the right house plan that fits your preferences, you should then consider the materials.
15 meters) long, and might be open ended, open sided, open topped, half
height, flat racked, refrigerated, liquid built (tank), modular or even for standard dry cargo.

facial plastic surgeon mn · September 17, 2014

It would help to talk about the operation with people that have
had the same process done. There are quite a few qualified cosmetic surgeons overseas who are notable
for producing quality, amazing, and flawless results.

In particular, changes were noted in the ways patients perceived their own voices, and their emotional responses to them.

deck ideas for travel trailers · September 15, 2014

Trade transmission oil just about every 500 hours or according to manufacturer.
Do not make the mistake of cutting down the tree yourself or hiring a regular
tree removal company to do the job. They could
also garnish a car or a boat this way and put it into storage.

charles brandon Fort Lauderdal · September 06, 2014

It records all the transactions taking place in a company so that you can always have a
check on the losses if required and according to generally accepted accounting principles, the basic framework of accounting should always include finance and
accounting records. If you have received IRS tax notice, you need not to be panic.
This method pts are crucial inside working with a defined talent management strategy.

internet marketing jobs west p · September 05, 2014

Arrest their attention by using rich colors and well defined graphics.
If you are not producing successful social media campaigns then you are basically talking to a wall
or to yourself. Be sure to fully grasp the actual alteration needs connected with any online
marketing program prior to deciding to concur.

Denisha · August 10, 2014

Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite
justification seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to be
aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about.
You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole
thing without having side effect , people could take a signal.
Willl likely be back to get more. Thanks

top hair products for fine hai · July 30, 2014

Choose a soap that will cleanse your body and not just perfume
it a little bit. Having a well hydrated body is a sure way of having your energy levels high at all times.

This will cause the hair to stretch and finally break.

obagi medical products reviews · July 28, 2014

Avoid conditioners with sulfates and keep one protein based conditioner at hand whenever you
experience excessive shedding, breakage and lost moisture.
Never wash your hair with very hot or very cold water.
Inlcude fish, whole grains, legumes, dairy products, and
fresh fruits and vegetables to prevent wrinkles and maintain healthy skin.

install tub pompano beach seaf · July 22, 2014

It is usually at this point that the most junior member of the household
suggests that maybe I should put more water in the bowl so that the plunger has half a chance of success.
Perhaps each toilet flush is becoming a little slower,
or the tub isn't draining after a shower, or an ominous noise is
emanating from the sink. Do not just ask any plumber to come
over and do some immediate repairs.

john costello Boca Raton CPA · July 10, 2014

This will make your details simple and easy so that employer can go through it at first instance.
All this in 1494 and this entire still found on your modern accounting
balance sheet. Alas, business deductions act as a salve to cool the burning and itching of your bank account.

cadeau · July 06, 2014

Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of
volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

- cadeau
- cadeau
- cadeau
- cadeau
- cadeau
- cadeau

best hcg sublingual drops · June 30, 2014

These clinics are few and far between and the shot regimen is expensive.
Sure, it'll cost you a bundle, but what's money compared to looking great.

HCG( not to be confused with HGH, which is human growth hormone and is illegal) is a
controlled substance in New York State that only
a Doctor can prescribe. Amniotic fluid is a type of pregnancy discharge which is characterized by a sweet
smell and a clear fluid. Make sure that you remove all articles of clothing.
In her research, Dr Emma has categorically stated that the need for HCG is extremely critical in maintaining weight loss throughout the HCG weight loss diet, and in fact is a crucial factor in ensuring that the
individual stays off from lost fat for life. They only carry two shampoo and conditioner options:
Oil-Free and a formula for thinning hair. HCG produced in pregnancy, but is found
in both men and women. This way you always have something
refreshing to drink...ready to go. Find out what to watch out for,
and which brands are HCG approved lotions.

nose job new york · June 10, 2014

Make sure you know how long it requires to recover from a plastic surgery process
ahead of agreeing to it. In 2009, men undergoing some sort
of cosmetic surgery procedure rose eight percent.
There is one error: the sentence "The heir who wins the windfall will be the one who finds the.

steroid abuse documentary · May 22, 2014

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the
book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home
a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

Pablo · May 17, 2014

I think the admin of this site is actually working hard in support of his website, as here every material is quality based information.

chung c? times city · December 17, 2013

I'm extremely inspired with your writing talents and also with the layout on your blog.
Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it your self?
Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it's rare
to seee a nice weblog like thks one these days..

Virgie · November 23, 2013

So, if you are loooing for a cell phone case, then
it is highly advissed to consider feew things so that you grab the berst deal also in terms of quality.
Mobile phones can do nearly anything today.

Products of PELICAN aare water resistant and comes with pressure purge valve.
The mobile shopping experience cannot exist in isolation from other channels.

It is an extension to the brand rather than a separate brand in itself.
The mobile shop should not be ann afterthought and should be fully integrated into marketing, design and product development strategies..
They are not only used for their practica value but are also in demnd because you
can coordinate your phone wwith your unique style.

work from home scams · October 18, 2013

I blog often and I truly appreciate your information.
This great article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week.
I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

Amine photographe · October 13, 2013

Amazing! Its genuinely amazing article, I have got much clear idea
about from this paragraph.

Garcinia Cambogia Formula Revi · July 13, 2013

Hi there, I wish for to subscribe for this web site
to take newest updates, so where can i do it please help out.

elham · November 05, 2012

look like water on the ragged beautiful.

Lynn101 · July 20, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

John O'Reilly · July 17, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily

cinnamon_carter · July 14, 2012

RT @dandidier: Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects via @ArchDaily

Jeferson Costa · July 14, 2012

Aqua Tower, edifício em chicago com uma fachada que simula ondas.

Mishari.N.AL-Mutawa · July 14, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

zoomstudio · July 14, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects, amazing building in Chicago vía @archdaily

Marcia Marshall · July 14, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

ulas erayan · July 14, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily

VD House Inc. · July 13, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Titti Mot · July 13, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

nasebär · July 13, 2012

Whut? They really built that?

Alexandre · July 13, 2012

The same idea as Gehry on his manhatam residential building.

Renata Polga · January 16, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Arrial Paul · January 07, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

cadeau Saint valentin, chocola · January 05, 2012 est le leader dans le domaine de la vente de chocolat personnalisé en ligne au Maroc. Personnaliser vos cadeaux en ligne quelque soit l’évènement: Saint valentin, mariage, noël, Anniversaire, Naissance, Déclaration d'amour, Nouvel an, Fête des mères ou des pères, Journée de la femme, Diplôme, Réconciliation, Convalescence...

Omamah alsadiQ · January 03, 2012

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects #Architecture #Chicago #USA #tower

CBriquet · November 27, 2011

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects via @archdaily #architecture #Chicago

nick83i · August 11, 2011

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Paulo oliveira · July 13, 2011

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects via @zite

patricia lussier · April 19, 2011

cloud like, rock like...

Taegu.Kwon ??? · April 18, 2011
vahid · April 18, 2011

a good concept , but a perfunctorily work . .

:B · March 29, 2011

its like water !

tamara · December 10, 2011 12:11 PM

very nice

tokue kajino · October 20, 2010

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily

??? · September 10, 2010

???! ?? RT @Krissjang: #??_ [Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects] ..from-archdaily.. ?????? ???? ??? ? ??..???..???..??

Ki-Seok, JanG · September 09, 2010

#??_ [Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects] ..from-archdaily.. ?????? ???? ??? ? ??..???..???..??

Mateus Pinto · July 26, 2010

Aqua Tower / Studio Gang Architects | ArchDaily

Viewpoint CS · July 12, 2010

Chicago&#39s Aqua tower voted best skyscraper in world, 09 made possible by gr8 concrete wk by McHugh

person · April 28, 2010

Skeptic, you keep hammering away on the lack of a thermal break... youre placing the blame in the wrong place... i would virtually guarantee Gang would have loved a thermal break between the balconies and floor slabs... and i guarantee it wasnt Gang that decided against it...

other than that, i agree the floor plates lose a bit from distance, but personally, the change in facade type begins to read from a distance, and keeps the building interesting even from afar.

Lew · December 05, 2009


fotom · December 04, 2009

I've looked at this building a lot online for about a year now. I've reserved my comments to myself prior to now, as so many people have raved about the design. I thought to myself, maybe I just don't get it. Or perhaps it'll grow on me. But it hasn't. And I personally think this is perhaps one of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen. I'm sure it's interesting to be near the base and look up at it, but that's as far as it goes. Get a little bit away from the tower and it quickly loses its appeal. The balconies look very cheaply done, being just a boring slab of concrete, only to be outdone by those terrible railings. And once again, here's a building that seems to only focus on the exterior design, not carrying the theme through to the interiors. The inspiration is there, the execution is not.

skeptic · December 09, 2009 02:23 AM

well put fotom. i would have to agree with you entirely. living in chicago, this building lends nothing to the skyline and as the balconies are lost once you observe it from more than a 5-6 blocks away. The balconies are a big problem as well, one unfavorable result of exposing the slabs is that there is no way to create a thermal break, and the floors become conductors that bring unwanted heat or cold to the interior. The sun shading that the terraces create mitigated this negative effect. Jeanne herself said this, “When you calculate it out, it ends up being pretty much even,” ... “You lose heat through the winter, but you reduce your A/C throughout the mid season and summer. It’s a wash.”
As much work as they put into researching and remedying a solution for the concrete and form-work, I think it was lost when they don't understand scale in a high-rise structure, possibly due to this being her first tall building. The floors don't resonate well from afar, only from directly below the building.

Wargo · December 04, 2009


hmmmmmm · December 04, 2009

Pretty basic deisgn, decorated with an undulating facade, hardly exceptional but easy on the eye......

Ralph Kent · December 03, 2009

I would have liked it more if the strata were not so regularly placed - that doesn't happen in nature does it? Also if some of the voids actually went in, rather than just come up against the glazed facade. It does, consquently just look like a glazed tower with some bits added to it. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but prob could have been more successful.

Lasse Lyhne · December 03, 2009

I miss that the organic shapes actually engage the volume in some places instead of just being glued to on it..

drinn · December 03, 2009

Balcony rails look terrible short to fall down. If you check that one pic, huh!

Amazing building.

sullka · December 03, 2009 09:58 PM

Not really, they seem fine. They're under code for sure, otherwise wouldn't been built.

My problem with the balconies, is that even though they're obviously the main them in the building, they're pretty cheap and poorly designed!, just a slab of concrete with a steel railing. They didn't even built a rim around the edge to receive any floor tiling or wood deck a potential owner might want to add.

OFFTOPIC: Guggenheim New York has a really scary railing, not only they're pretty small (waistline and I'm regular height) but they are also

panza · December 03, 2009

very easy and very effective way to get the skyscraper "dressed". since Mies van der rohe, skyscrapers have become very boaring glass boxes - and this is a good and relatively cheap way to make them look a bit nicer.

but still, it´s just "clothes" - I miss something more conceptual about this building, underneath its clothes, it is just an average architecture

WEe S · December 03, 2009

Is there any issue with safety related to the balcony? However, it would be a new icon of Chicago.

Richie · December 03, 2009

It's really just decorating a basic box to make it a bit more eye-catching but I think it's a worthy effort and does manage to introduce a little more joy into the standard glass corporate tower.

DPL · December 03, 2009
David Basulto · December 03, 2009 11:24 PM

By the way, that project is very recent... for a competition that happened years after the Aqua tower started.

Arquipablo · December 03, 2009 08:21 PM

If you mean its "inspired"......but....this is so much better!!

great building

n10e · December 03, 2009

This is one of the best high-rise building for this year.
Beautiful, simple, and easy to build.

Architist · December 03, 2009

An amaizing building. I love the idea addapting from Striated limestone.

md · December 03, 2009

gives more to the guy standing at the base than it does to the skyline...exciting at first then gets a little dull...probably the easiest to build blob-thing to date, however.

WSBY · December 03, 2009

great architecture! beautiful shape to live!

Dariusz · December 03, 2009

this is a simply, brilliant idea..and it seems to work, sculpturally. Thermal breaking aside, I do love this addition to Chicago's skyline.. :) Keep em coming!

james · December 03, 2009

i usually hate things like this.
but this is actually very beautiful.
great that something like this was actually realised

christopher · December 03, 2009

surprised as all-hell that this got finished. i remember Jeanne presenting this project at the MMFX conference in 2006 and after nearly every building over 40 stories abruptly stopped last year (at least in NYC), i thought this would surely be a strange Ryugyong Hotel in the Chicago landscape.

props to Studio Gang for getting this in under the wire.

also: "striated limestone outcroppings common in the Great Lakes area (see photo below)."

i looked below and was expecting to see some pictures of limestone...did i miss something?

David Basulto · December 03, 2009 07:10 AM


You are right! I forgot to add the photo. Just added it to the article.

hedgy · December 03, 2009

I know this building .. i saw it couple of months ago when i was in chicago ... it's very amazing when you look at it closer from below .. it's like something eat parts of the building ;)

alex · December 03, 2009

also, seems like if the curtain wall is reflective enough it could trick the eye right through the "void" portions of the facade and render the whole thing as just this vertical, formal landmass in the chicago skyline...if thats the case...thats kind of nice.

alex · December 03, 2009

yeah at first it looks great. but Im concerned that this is nothing other than a glass box with floor plates at 12' o.c. or whatever, with arbitrary lines of demarcation that define their boundary...just as arbitrary as the box of glass boundary which they often violate.

so obviously the location at which the plates stop is based on making some sort of cool topo map on the exterior...but this gives some parts of the building lots of balcony, little balcony, medium balcony, no balcony, and varying levels of sun exposure and drastically changes the way someone inside the glass box deals with the exterior....I wonder if this is driven by the cool topo, or by program locations on the inside?...or both...

I'd love to know the methodology behind this.

and I have a hard time believing the floor plan that has the many layers of blob-y plates overlayed on top of each other...thats cool...but my guess is the real thing is much less dynamic than that.

ok, im rambling.

David Basulto · December 03, 2009 04:16 AM

Alex, take a look at the terrace criteria diagram included in the article, you can see more about how they were designed.

skeptic · December 03, 2009

also, the long expanses of concrete balconies allow a thermal bridge that negate any proactive efforts the window placement has on being "green"... should have thought about that one a little better

Second Rate · December 05, 2009 10:53 AM

Actually, the woman on the architectural boat tour packed full of miss-information stated that the floor slab IS continuous however, some kind of special paint developed by NASA was used to address this issue. I hope this paint can hold up to the special Midwest Winters!

james webb · December 03, 2009 05:57 PM

it is also possible that the balconies are isolated from the floor slabs. that method is standard practice in EU to avoid thermal bridging.

L dog · December 03, 2009 09:06 AM

the building quite "green". the thermal bridge is not a problem because of the mass of the concrete.

skeptic · December 03, 2009

too bad it only looks good from 1-2 angles... it's an eyesore with the rest of the skyline

Nicolas · December 03, 2009

nice.. its just a rectangular shaped plan repeated to over 80 floors underneath those balconies, but the result is just great!


Comments are closed

Read comments