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Jeanne Gang's Green-Roofed Aqua Tower Ripples Up Towards the Chicago Sky
The tower was actually first designed as a hotel, but ailing economic factors required the building to be turned into a apartment complex. As such, the building hosts expansive views of the city, Millennium Park, and it’s inspiration, sparkling Lake Michigan. The building also maintains a swimming pool, sky gardens, running tracks, open-air hot tubs, a library and a billiard room. The tower’s garden roof is actually one of Chicago’s most extensive. Gang’s love for avian also found its way into the design. The architect paid close attention to how birds navigate in urban environments and react in the face of different materials. The complex facade design helps birds pick up on irregularities in their path, signaling for them to avoid the building.
It was in 2006 that Gang was invited by fellow architect and developer James R Loewenberg to submit a preliminary design for his Aqua Tower. Given that skyscraper design, which was then, and still is, a branch of the architecture dominated by men, Gang jumped at the chance. However, Gang is no diva. Speaking to the Guardian back in 2009 about her design method and the tower, “Our working method is very collaborative. Having said that, at least half, maybe more, of the staff here are women. I just think it’s natural. I’ve always wanted to build. I was encouraged to make and repair things by my parents. But OK, I can’t hide the fact that it’s great to have done a skyscraper, even if I never do one again.”
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