S is for Sears Tower

In 1970, Sears chairman Gordon Metcalf explained, “Being the largest retailer in the world, we thought we should have the largest headquarters in the world.” When the building was completed in 1974 it enabled the retailer to consolidate approximately 6,500 employees who had previously been working at seven separate locations.

The Hub

Structural engineer Fazlur Kahn, architect Bruce Graham and their partners at the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) are responsible for the groundbreaking design of what is still the tallest building in North America.

...today turned into a pretty fine day.

Its bundled tube construction was revolutionary. It consists of 9 tubes that are each seventy-five feet square. The tubes are then set back at the 50th, 66th and 90th floors leaving 2 tubes to rise to the building’s full height of 1454 feet. The setbacks provide lateral stiffness allowing the tower to resist the “Windy City’s” windy conditions and are also indicative of the original use of the building.

When Sears first occupied the building their merchandising department utilized the first 50 floors. The massive floors enabled employee interaction with limited elevator travel. The setback floors above were leased out and proved to be extremely profitable.

So, although now-a-days this beautifully sleek engineering wonder is more commonly known as the Willis Tower, in Chicago, "S" will always stand for Sears tower.

Who's been up in the observatory and looked down on the street like a roosting pigeon?