Chicago day 1, the end of a long day
When we left the Tribune Tower the evening was starting to draw in. Our plan was to go to the top of the John Hancock Centre where there is a bar with a view out over the city. The Willis (Sears) Tower has an observation platform which, like the Shard, is expensive. So we figured we could get a couple of drinks for less than the cost of the Sear's admission if we did the Hancock instead.
We walked north up North Michigan Avenue, passing the the Allerton Hotel, a brick building which was under construction at the same time as the Tribune Tower (1924).
When Chicago was razed to the ground by fire in 1871, the only thing left was the Gothic stone-built Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station (1869 designed by W.W. Boyington). This became a symbol for the renewal of the city and it still stands, although now functioning as a tourist information office. It is rather dwarfed by the buildings around it, especially the Park Tower to it's rear.
We were rather late getting to the John Hancock Centre and all the tables next to the windows were occupied. But still people made way so I could photograph the sun going down over the city.
The black hulk of the Hancock Centre rises 100 storeys over North Michigan Avenue. It was labelled 'Big John' for it's size and presence. The huge X-braces that straddle the exterior stiffen the building against wind forces and the whole structure is supported by exterior braced steel tubes so that the interior is entirely free from columns (a system devised by engineer Fazlur Khan). It was completed in 1970 and designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Half of it's site is occupied by a plaza. Here it is, with a picture of an area of the lobby below.
Once we had got our drink I set about the photography business. The lady's loo at the top of the Hancock also has a large plate glass widow which is good to photograph from. The gents is not so endowed.
Here are some pictures taken looking south towards Lake Michigan and Navy Pier (the one with the wheel) as the sun was going down.
The above is looking north up the lake towards the baseball stadium Wrigley Fields.
The following pictures were all taken looking south over the river as it got gradually darker. In the picture below there are three taller buildings. The tall pale building to the left is the AON Centre. Then Trump Tower is to the right and the Willis Tower to the right again towards the edge of the frame.
When we got outside the Water Tower was lit up and we finally made our way to Navy Pier to take a last picture of the Chicago skyline across the lake.
Sore of foot we limped back to a bus and then the train, finally making it to Michael's building in the north of the city and the four storey climb up to his apartment clutching our take aways. We slept well that night.
The sources I have used for the these Chicago blogs are 'Pocket Guide to Chicago Architecture' by Judith Paine McBrien, published by W.W.Norton and Co.
Chicago Architecture Information http://www.chicagoarchitecture.info
The Chicago Architecture Foundation http://www.architecture.org/about-caf/
DK Eyewitness Guide to Chicago published by DK
Some online pages from the Chicago Tribune and good old Wikipedia