Thank you to Chicago Tribune’s article:
Visitors won’t have to crane their necks to see straight down from the Sears Tower Skydeck when the building adds four glass-bottomed balconies, nicknamed “The Ledge,” to its 50-mile views come June.
The Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the building that is changing its name to Willis Tower, opened in 1974, and has–weather permitting–always provided a view of four states. But to see what’s directly beneath them, visitors always had to get as close to the building’s windows as possible. The Ledge is scheduled to open next month, according to a spokeswoman for the Skydeck.
The inspiration for The Ledge came from hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every week,” according to a fact sheet from the Sears Tower.
There will be no extra charge for The Ledge, although the charge for Skydeck admission increased a dollar today to $14.95 for those ages 12 and older, the first increase in two years; admission for those ages 3 to 11 is $10.50.
The addition of the boxes is part of a larger, multimillion dollar renovation of the Skydeck, according to a spokeswoman.
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the architecture firm that designed the tower, also designed The Ledge, whose four 1-1/2-inch-thick glass boxes are being placed on the building’s west side, according to the fact sheet. The retractable boxes will extend 4.3 feet out from the side of the building at 1,353 feet above street level, according to the fact sheet.
Each of the four Ledge boxes is comprised of three layers of half-inch-thick glass. They are designed to hold about five tons, much more weight than they are expected to have to carry when they have a full group of visitors, and also higher than the two tons required by city code, according to the spokeswoman.
The Skydeck factsheet informs people that the fully enclosed glass boxes will also be capable of retracting into the building for cleaning and maintenance. I haven’t ever been to the Skydeck in my entire life. I always chose to go to the John Hancock’s Signature Room because it’s free and it offers the same, if not better views of Chicago. I think the Skydeck was starting to lose out on attendance and money so this is their trump card. I’ll definitely visit the Skydeck JUST because of The Ledge.
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