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Aon Center

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Aon Center - 200 East Randolph Drive, Chicago
The Aon Center, formerly named the Standard Oil Building (1973-1985) and the Amoco Building (1985-1999)[1], is the tallest box-shaped building in the world.[2] When it was finished in 1973, it was the tallest structure in Chicago and the fourth tallest in the world, standing at a height of 1,136 feet (346 m).[3]


[edit] Construction History

[edit] Chicago Construction Boom

Construction of the Standard Oil Building began in 1970 amidst a development boom in the city of Chicago. Around the same time, crews also completed the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower. The John Hancock Center became Chicago’s tallest building in 1969. The Standard Oil Building eclipsed it just four year later in 1973. Despite being only 83 stories, compared to the John Hancock’s 100 stories, the Standard Oil Building was 29 ft (9 m) taller.[4] The Standard Oil Building only had a short tenure as Chicago’s tallest building; it was overtaken upon the Sears Tower’s completion—also in 1973.

Chicago was not the only city feeling a surge in development in the early 70’s. A housing boom across the whole of the United States was underway. This lead to an increased demand for household necessities; and eventually a nationwide shortage of toilets. At one point, there were not enough toilets available to furnish the Standard Oil Building's topmost floors, leading to a delay in their occupancy.[5]

[edit] Harmful Marble

The building was originally built for Standard Oil Co., whose chairman was adamant about how to adorn the building’s exterior. He insisted that the exterior be lined with marble slabs taken from the same quarry used by Michelangelo, despite warnings that the marble would be unable to withstand the sharply changing elements of Chicago’s climate. To save on costs, the marble was also cut thinner than was recommended.[6]

In 1974, a slab of marble became dislodged and fell through the roof of the neighbouring Prudential Center Annex. Steel straps were installed to prevent any further accidents. However, as years passed, the marble began to crumble and fall in smaller pieces. Finally it was decided that the marble would have to be done away with altogether.[7]

[edit] Renovations

From 1990-1992, all 43,000 marble slabs were removed from what was now known as the Amoco Building—pale granite slabs were installed in their place. The renovation cost approximately US$80 million; which was close to the total of the building's original construction expenses.[8] This stage of improvements also included renovations to the upper plaza, lower plaza, and the main entrance.[9]

In June 2006, plans were discussed by the media to convert some of the top floors from office space to residential dwellings. These plans were never enacted.[10]

Now known as the Aon Center, the building has a vacancy rate of nearly 19 percent, with some areas having been unoccupied for six or more years.

[edit] Unique Facts

  • In May of 2003, Wells Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc. acquired the Aon Center from The Blackstone Group for US$475 million.[11]
  • Each floor offers 33,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of rentable space.[12] The total amount of rentable space is 2,700,000 ft2 (250,000 m2)[13]

[edit] References

  1. A Brief History Of Chicago Building Name Changes. CBS 2 Chicago [December 21, 2009].
  2. Aon Center. [December 21, 2009].
  3. Big Stan ups Big John 29. Lodi News-Sentinel [December 21, 2009].
  4. Big Stan ups Big John 29. Lodi News-Sentinel [December 21, 2009].
  5. Now a Toilet Shortage. The Tuscaloose News [December 21, 2009].
  6. Chris Baty. Chicago City Guide. Lonely Planet.
  7. The Aon Center. [December 21, 2009].
  8. Aon Center. [December 21, 2009].
  9. Georges Binder. 101 of the World's Tallest Buildings. The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd: 2006.
  10. Aon building mulls condos. Chicago Business [December 21, 2009].
  11. Aon Center. [December 21, 2009].
  12. Georges Binder. 101 of the World's Tallest Buildings. The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd: 2006.
  13. The Aon Center. [December 21, 2009].

[edit] External Links

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