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Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Aon Center (Chicago) photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

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The Aon Center

Formerly: Amoco Building
Formerly: Standard Oil Building
Built: 1970-1972
Cost: $120,000,000.00
Designed by: Edward Durell Stone & Associates and Perkins and Will Corporation
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 83
Maximum Height: 1,136 feet / 346 meters
Location: 200 East Randolph Street, Chicago, United States
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Building Rating
50%
80% of readers like the Aon Center (Chicago).
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W ell known in Chicagoland, but not so well known elsewhere, the Aon Center is the quiet, dignified supertall in the Chicago skyline. It lacks the flashy spires of Sears and Hancock, and instead goes for vertical stripes to add extra visual height to its already impressive stature.

From a distance, the building feels like another boring grey 1970's stone block. But to really appreciate the Aon Center, you have to walk right up to it and crane your neck to see the top. Fortunately, this is possible thanks to a sunken plaza in front of the building with some rather extensive fountain work. This creates an area that is a pleasure for people on hot summer days, while at the same time protects the building from would-be truck bombers.

Height and location give the Aon Center's tenants remarkable views in all directions. People facing south look over Grant Park; people with west-facing windows can look at The Loop; people with eastern exposures are treated to Lake Michigan sunrises and boating activities; and people on the northern face get to look up the Magnificent Mile and the Chicago coastline.

But the news hasn't always been bright for the Aon Center. In fact, it has been routinely maligned in the print media. At first, critics called the building's design bland and uninspired. Later, things started going wrong with the building. Most famously, just after the building was completed, its famed marble facade began to buckle. Stainless steel straps were wrapped around the building to keep any large chunks from falling off. It was all replaced with white granite at a cost of $60,000,000.00 -- half what it cost to build the tower in the first place. That left the owners with 5,900 tons of unwanted marble. Some was turned into trinkets like paperweights. Some was donated to a company that makes trophies. A lot was used in landscaping at Governors State University, and at Amoco facilities across the nation.

  • At the time of its completion, this was the tallest building in Chicago.
  • At the time of its completion, this was the fourth-tallest building in the world.
  • The building's original marble facade was from Carrara, the same Italian quarry used by Michaelangelo for his masterpiece "David."
  • This building is connected to the city's underground pedestrian tunnel system.

  • Stories above ground: 83
  • Stories below ground: 5
  • Rentable floor space: 2,700,000

  • 1972: Construction is completed.
  • 1973: The Sears Tower surpasses this building as the tallest building in Chicago.
  • 1974: A slab of marble facade comes off the building and plunges through the roof of the Prudential Center Annex.
  • 1989-1992: All 43,000 marble panels comprising the building's facade are replaced with granite from North Carolina. The marble panels were buckling and coming loose because of the harsh Chicago winters. It cost between $60- and $80,000,000.00 to replace all the stone.
  • November, 1991: A routine inspection finds that two steel columns in the building's lobby have to be reinforced. The Chicago Tribune reports that although building officials say there is no danger, additional steel plates are welded to the columns in question.
  • 1998: The Amoco Building is sold. The exact price is never made public, but estimated to be between $430,000,000.00 and $440,000,000.00.
  • January 1, 2001: The building's name is changed to Aon Center.
  • May, 2003 : The Aon Center is sold for $465,000,000.00.
  • March, 2007: A plan is floated to convert the top 13 stories of this tower to residential apartments or condominiums.

  • The sunken plaza is a great place to cool off in the Summer when the fountain is on. And if it's off there might be a book fair or some other event happening worth checking out.

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See many more Chicagoland skyscrapers, buildings, and landmarks at Chicago Architecture Info.
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Things To Look For:
  • Bunnies. There are a number of rabbits who make their homes in the decorative planters on the Aon Center grounds. They are most visible when they come out at night to eat in peace.
Did You Know?
  • The sculpture made up of hundreds of rods sticking out of the ground is called "Untitled Sounding Sculpture" and was made by Harra Bertoia. The rods are 19 feet tall and make an especially eerie sound when the wind blows through them at night.

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Meaghan Davis
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 @ 11:56am
Rating: Four stars.
This Building Looks Amazing. I Have Ti Find All The Dimensions Of It && Build A Model Of It. We Could Pick Any Building In The World && That's The One I Picked.

ev pedrak
Saturday, February 13th, 2010 @ 9:45pm
Rating: One star.
this bldg.holds a special place in my heart,from 1981-1989 I worked on the exterior of this great bldg. mainly concerned with the marble&caulking.

Roberto
Friday, September 25th, 2009 @ 12:18pm
Rating: Five stars.
The building's stone facade provides such contrast against the other buildings that as Chicago skyline grows, it becomes more prevalent, providing three dimensional form. Edward Durell Stone's design is timeless- classic-eclectic. It compliments all the other buildings with its suttle sophistication.Roberto Hugo

Wes
Sunday, July 5th, 2009 @ 9:13pm
Rating: Five stars.
The simple fact that this building is clad in stone, and not aluminum is a staggering thought. It is timeless, and looks almost as good as when it was white, but most dont notice it is grey now. The lobby is dated, but it is a building that doesn't sell out to TV and radio stations by potting annteneas on top. it is not the ugly black and bronze building and kust looks fierce. Condos on the the top 13 floors would have a huge price do to the location and view. I doesn't hype a Skydeck, thus people just walk on by.

dallred
Friday, June 26th, 2009 @ 1:24pm
Rating: Five stars.
I love this bldg, Simple, elegant design. I see little similarity (other than square footprint) to WTC. Exterior cladding, window design are all different from WTC, I only wish this structure was another 20-30 stories taller.

Michael Scinico
Thursday, April 30th, 2009 @ 2:00pm
Rating: Five stars.
Simplicity and Grand

Sam Corcione
Saturday, January 17th, 2009 @ 6:13pm
Rating: Five stars.
Great Building!!! The undesclosed tennant in the building is actually 2 stories under the building, AT&T maintains the "Lakeshore" Central Office under the building serving many customers east of Michigan Ave. Edward Durell Stone also designed Tupperware's International Headquarters on Orange Blossom Trail in Kissimmee FL next door to Gatorland. If you have seen both you will see some familiarity in the decor of engraving on the outside of Tupperware's building and The ceilings of Aon Center.

Northshore Process Service
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 @ 4:57pm
Rating: Five stars.
One of the best in Chicago after the Hancock.

Roger Marz
Monday, May 26th, 2008 @ 6:34pm
Rating: Three stars.
When this building was redone they trashed the Bertoia fountain. What is left is heartbreaking to one who loved the original.

Dr. Q
Monday, October 29th, 2007 @ 2:53pm
Rating: Five stars.
i loved this building. the design is simplicity itself. the plain white facade and the lights at night are just beautiful. the location on the skyline is genius. there is no chicago without the Aon center.

William Hopkins
Friday, April 27th, 2007 @ 10:06pm
Rating: Five stars.
One of the best in the US behind the Hancock. Big Stan really deserves some credit.

kirby cruz
Thursday, December 7th, 2006 @ 8:37pm
Rating: Five stars.
The Aon Center is a building you have to love to hate. its such a cold building, but has a very nice plaza at the base.

Jeff Kemp
Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 @ 6:34am
Rating: Four stars.
My feeling for this building has nothing to do with the WTC, it has to do with how the building soars. In my opinion no building in Chicago feels taller when looking at it from the base then this one. With no setbacks or tapers, the entire height of the building is viewable from the great plaza at the base.

Dean Skora
Thursday, April 20th, 2006 @ 2:41pm
Rating: Two stars.
I think some people get caught up with this building's apparent similarity to the WTC. (COMPLETELY different structural system, thank God.) Don't let emotion get in the way of the fact that this building has never found an audience; perhaps because it has no human reference (you just get dwarfed by the building, not invited or embraced.) Functionally, it does everything right; but I don't think anyone will ever love this building, like you do the Marquette or the Field building (now the LaSalle Bank bldg) or the BOT. (And don't get me wrong: I think the UBS and the new Hyatt are both great additions. Old ain't necessarily better.) But the AON Center just BORES me.

Mario
Monday, August 29th, 2005 @ 10:26pm
Rating: Five stars.
i think it is a wonderful tower and also the closest thing we can manage to one of the twin towers. This building would be better if it had a twin and it will also honor the twin towers in new york.It gives chicago a much better skyline helping the sears tower and and the Hancock tower.

william lomasney
Tuesday, April 19th, 2005 @ 9:58pm
Rating: Five stars.
I also gave this 70's look 5 stars. the Chicago skyline has changed over the years and this building with the other 2 Sears offsets and Hancock long taper give the Aon a difinate contrast. Good stuff !

Charlie Shellenberger
Wednesday, March 16th, 2005 @ 9:27am
Rating: Five stars.
I really like this building even though I admit it is plain. I like it for its height, facade, and lighting at night. The plainnless is ok because this building helps to create balance in the Chicago skyline. Its location is also perfect relative to the locations of Sears and Hancock. Also worth noting is that this building has the closest resemblence to a WTC tower. I think it would be cool if they put another AON center right next to it to pay tribute to the WTC center. However, I am not sure how NYC would feel about this.


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