Striking Skyscraper in Chicago

Aqua is an 87-story mixed-use residential skyscraper in the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago designed in the Modern architectural style.

Aqua was designed by Jeanne Gang, principal and founder of Studio Gang Architects, and it is her first skyscraper project.  This is the largest project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman.  Loewenberg & Associates are the architects of record, led by James Loewenberg.

The building contains 55,000 square feet (5,100 square meters) of retail and office space, in addition to 215 hotel rooms (floors 1-18), 476 rental residential units (floors 19-52), and 263 condominium units & Penthouses (floors 53-80).  Aqua is the first downtown building to combine condos, apartments and a hotel.

The name ‘Aqua’ was assigned to the building by Magellan Development Group LLC. It fits the nautical theme of the other buildings in the Lakeshore East development, and is derived from the wave-like forms of the balconies; the tower’s proximity to nearby Lake Michigan also influenced the name.

Sustainability was also an important factor in Aqua’s design. Gang and her team refined the terrace extensions to maximize solar shading, and other sustainable features will include rainwater collection systems and energy-efficient lighting. The green roof on top of the tower base will be the largest in Chicago.

Construction started 2007
Completed 2009
Cost US$300 million
Owner Aqua Realty Holdings LLC
Height 261.8 m (859 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 87
1 below ground
Floor area 1,990,635 sq ft (184,936.0 m2)
Lifts/elevators 24

Imagine having cocktails on the 75th floor balcony.  One hell of a view.  And drinking a few cocktails is the only way I would walk onto that balcony.

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