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Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Hyatt Center photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

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Hyatt Center

Built: 2002-2004
Cost: $225,000,000
Designed by: Pei, Cobb, Freed, and Partners
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 48
Maximum Height: 679 feet / 207 meters
Location: 71 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, United States
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A shot across the bow of the forces of West Loop darkness. The Hyatt Center rises from amid an overgrown forest of skyscrapers to spread light through a part of Chicago that previously seemed in perpetual shadow.

The building takes the form of a smooth oval with indentations at its two most acute points. Those indentations seem to be the silvery skin of this tower peeling back to reveal the solid structure underneath.

The building is constructed around a core which bears much of the weight of the larger building, allowing large column-free spaces to extend outward from the center toward the windows. In some places, that run is as much as 45 feet in length, allowing great versatility in building out offices.

But it's that silvery skin that is the building's most valuable asset to people who don't have the privilege of working inside the tower. It sets it apart from many of its older, darker neighbors. Because the Hyatt Center is located on a very tight space along South Wacker Drive it casts mighty shadows on the streets below. But in some measure it makes up for that by reflecting an incredible amount of sunlight on the rest of the city. Even from afar, the building dazzles.

  • Designed by Henry Cobb
  • Commissioned by the Pritzker family; at the time Chicago's richest. Development was supervised by Penny Pritzker.
  • Landscape designer: Peter Schaudt
  • The shape of this building has been described as a "flattened football."

  • Floorspace: 1,500,000 square feet

  • 2002: Construction begins.
  • 2004: Construction is completed.
  • October 7, 2006: The Chicago Tribune reports this building is for sale.

  • The layout of this building has been criticized for not being friendly to pedestrians. Most other skyscrapers in Chicago have open lobbies that allow people to use them as shortcuts, or as refuges from rain and cold, and even offer shops and restaurants to lure people in. This building's lobby, however, is for tenants only. It has been called an overreaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, especially considering that neighboring skyscrapers, like the terrorist-targeted Sears Tower, still welcome the general public.

  • Look, but don't touch. This building and its security personnel are notoriously hostile to outsiders.

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Did You Know?
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, Henry Cobb was given just four weeks to come up with the design for this building.

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Niall
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 @ 4:52pm
Rating: Five stars.
This is a beautiful tower reminiscent of the EDF which is the best in La Defense. Huge addition to the Loop skyline.


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