Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The John Hancock Center is My Friend

The John Hancock Center is my friend. I remember my parents taking me to see this new building, as a child, at night. We drove down Michigan Avenue, me in the back seat of the car, looking up through the window at a building that disappeared into a fog -- was there any end to it?

Bruce Graham, Fazlur Khan, the team at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and all the others that made this building possible created a great gift for us all. I am not an uncritical admirer. I know that the the ground floor, in general, is miserly towards the pedestrian. This doesn't ruin the Hancock. It is a building that appears simple -- what is it but some beams and glass -- but after forty years still surprises. For example, it took me until recently to realize that the cross-bracing did not meet at 90 degrees (that is probably how I would draw it "from memory").

The Hancock is one of those structures that, like the grain of sand that allows a pearl to grow, provides the city a physical object that shapes an identity. Sometimes I think of the city without this building and I would rather not -- it would be a different place.

1 comment:

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