This is the 82-storey Aqua in Chicago, the 2009 international Skyscraper of the Year. The signature feature is the undulating balconies, but they have greater purpose than eye candy, man.
Hands up everyone who remembers Chicago = the Windy City. Those winds whip across the sea-like Lake Michigan, so the ‘waves’ of balconies are not only visually informed by the Great Lakes and their limestone shorelines, they also diffuse the massive wind gusts, reducing heating costs. Chicago is smack dab on North America’s major bird migration route, so flocks of birds tend to crash into the city’s skyscrapers. This one’s irregular lines and reflections are meant to prevent that.
The balconies shade the occupants, earning more green points. The whole building uses green building materials, it has public charging stations for electric cars, and a terrace that doubles as a green roof.
Significantly for unshackling future architects, a new concrete forming apparatus had to be invented to allow each balcony to be individually shaped without delaying construction or adding huge costs.
Building of the year? One for all time, seems like, and in music terms, a crossover hit. How many other buiildings has the ‘Spill reviewed?