The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago

Chicago / United States / 2009

9
9 Love 1,466 Visits Published

The Ledge at Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, was created to enhance a classic SOM building with an innovative addition that is in the spirit of the original design. The minimal five-sided glass balconies allow for views in all directions and provide an experience that approximates being suspended in the air. The ledges are approximately 4 feet deep, 10 feet high, and 10 feet wide.


They are made of 1.5 inch laminated glass panels hung from a steel frame that rides on rails, allowing it to be retracted into the building for cleaning and maintenance. A multi-disciplinary team at SOM conceived the design, created construction documents for the fixed elements, and worked closely with the design/builder of the movable glass ledges. This unique concept is showing promise as a feature in new towers currently being designed by the firm. 


Original Sears Tower architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) designed The Ledge so that the fully enclosed glass boxes retract into the building, allowing easy access for cleaning and maintenance.



Experts in international structural glass design, Halcrow Yolles, fully designed and detailed all the glass and steel components. Beginning with the architect's original concept, the engineers took the design one step further by eliminating all perimeter structural steel at the sides and along the floor of the glass enclosures and creating a near-invisible support system.



MTH Industries, the Chicago-based 120-year-old glass and architectural metal contractor that installed the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, installed The Ledge’s 1,500 pound glass panels. Each box is comprised of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit. The low-iron, clear glass is fully tempered for durability.

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    The Ledge at Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, was created to enhance a classic SOM building with an innovative addition that is in the spirit of the original design. The minimal five-sided glass balconies allow for views in all directions and provide an experience that approximates being suspended in the air. The ledges are approximately 4 feet deep, 10 feet high, and 10 feet wide. They are made of 1.5 inch laminated glass panels hung from a steel frame that rides on rails, allowing it to...

    Project details
    • Year 2009
    • Work finished in 2009
    • Contractor Berglund Construction
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Office Buildings / Showrooms/Shops
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