Ups and Downs in Chicago

by William T. Lyons, Vice Pres., Operations; Morse Diesel International, Chicago, IL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 12, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


The Chicago Title and Trust Center�a 50-story mixed-use complex which opened late last year�offers 1.3 million sq ft of above-grade space, and three levels of below-grade parking. The most innovative aspects of the tower are the up/down construction technique, which cut five months off the project schedule, and an elaborate curtainwall system. The tower is located on the site of an old Greyhould Bus Terminal. Since the structural elements were in excellent condition, the up/down construction incorporated the existing floor slabs of the Greyhound structure for temporary ground retention, and the existing foundation walls as part of the permanent construction. The second innovation involves the curtainwall system. When joined together, 12 ft tall, fully-assembled, caulked granite, glass and aluminum panels become weatherproof. The granites used for the curtainwall were hand-selected from a quarry in Italy, and subjected to rigorous tests to determine their ability to withstand the wind, ice and cold of Chicago. Finally, the glass component of the curtainwall represents one of the first uses of clear Low E glass in building construction. The clear glass has a film coating that provides insulation without producing a tint. The coating enables the glass to retain heat in the building during winter and prevents heat from penetrating the building during warm weather months.

Subject Headings: Glass | Curtain walls | Construction management | Buildings | Temporary structures | Innovation | High-rise buildings | Chicago | Illinois | United States

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