Photo by Lonna Horner
This is probably the most visually striking building in Chicago. What is most interesting though is that the design is as much about aesthetics as it is about functionality.
First of all, the exterior of the Aqua looks like rolling waves. This seems appropriate given Chicago’s proximity to the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Secondly, the design is functional as well. Chicago is rightly nicknamed the “windy city”. Skyscrapers especially face a constant onslaught of powerful winds that can cause all sorts of complications. The wave designed exterior, however, breaks up the wind as it crosses the building, lessening the need to have built in systems to compensate for the constant wind.
This building also has the distinction of being the tallest building designed and built by a female architect, Jeanne Gang.
Overall it’s a very daring design. Looking at it from this perspective intensifies the dramatic view. This photo was also captured during a time of day that heightened shadow on the lower portion of the building, adding to the already intense look. There’s nothing else quite like the Aqua in Chicago, or in the rest of the world for that matter.
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