The Sears Tower
In May of 1973, electrical workers sang “she towers so high,” as the final white beam, with over 12,000 signatures was lifted into the sky to complete the construction of the Sears Tower. The Sears Tower is the tallest building in North America, and was the tallest in the world until 1998 when it was surpassed by the Petronas Tower in Malaysia(PBS, 2001). When completed in 1973 it was an engineering masterpiece and still is today.
In the late 60’s Architect Bruce Graham designed the Sears Tower while working for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill architectural firm in Chicago. Work on the Sears Tower began in August of 1970 and was completed in May of 1973. The building incorporated a new engineering concept in construction called “bundled tube” configuration. With Chicago being known as the “windy city” these tubes were created solely to provide stability from the strong winds. Two hundred of these bundled tubes were laid into the bedrock. Then 76,000 tons of prefabricated steel in 15 foot by 25 foot sections were put into place according to Jackie Craven 2008. It took four derrick cranes that moved higher with each floor to lift these steel sections into place. With the new concept the Sears Tower is actually a bundle of nine tubes that terminate at different heights, creating the iconic stepped-back appearance of the tower. This appearance served well as a backdrop to numerous films utilizing Chicago’s skyline including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Fugitive.
In 1984 Sears-Reebok Company moved out of the tower leaving half of the building vacant for nearly five years. In 1986 AEW Capital Management bought the tower for $800 million and managed to raise to occupancy by 40 percent. However AEW could not gain profit from the tenants due to estate depression and lower than average rental rates within the tower. (Krause, 2008) In late 1997 the Sear’s Tower was sold for $804 million to a Toronto based...
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