The Vista Tower – Chicago’s Newest Sky-Scraping Structure

Aaron Bell, Web Editor

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The Wanda Vista tower—since its approval in November of 2015—has finally begun construction near the Chicago River, on 375 East Wacker Drive. This mixed-use supertall skyscraper will be the city’s third tallest building and is expected to top out at 361 meters (1,186 feet) upon its projected completion date in 2020. In addition to over 400 residences, the tower will also include a 5-star Wanda Vista hotel.

The tower’s distinctive design will accentuate the tower’s height and transform the city’s already robust and ornamented skyline, which has been voted as being among the world’s most beautiful and recognizable skylines in the world. Its unique curvature and turquoise-blue color will attract attention as a staggered structure with 3 towers of varying heights (the towers will have 47, 71 and 93 stories respectively). In the skyline, it is situated closely to the Aon Center—the city’s current 3rd tallest at 1,136 feet—which initially would have been comparable in height to the Vista tower, as the Vista tower was originally planned to be only 8 feet taller than the Aon Center tower in total roof height.

This skyscraper will join the many others that are being currently constructed during what many consider to be a “skyscraper boom” in Chicago. By 2020, with the inclusion of the Vista Tower, Chicago’s skyscraper count is expected to reach 130, keeping it only a few skyscrapers short—behind Shanghai—of claiming the number five spot in cities worldwide with the most skyscrapers. By definition, a skyscraper is a continuously habitable building of over 10 floors that is at least 150 meters (about 500 feet) in height. In addition, for buildings above height 300 meters in height (984 feet), the term Supertall is used, while skyscrapers that are beyond 600 meters (1,969 feet) are classified as Megatall. The Vista tower and its height, design, and innovation will all be welcomed in the Windy City, the birthplace of the modern skyscraper.

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