Towrs

The Aon Center

200 East Randolph Street, Chicago

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Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
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Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a poster, print, and digital download.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a poster, print, and digital download.

Location

Address

200 East Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois, United States 60601

Bordering Streets

East Randolph Street
North Stetson Avenue
East Lake Street
North Columbus Drive

Neighborhood

The Loop

Fast Facts

Formerly Known As

• The Amoco Building
• The Standard Oil Building

Built

1972

Maximum Height

1,136 feet / 346 meters

Stories

83

Well known in Chicagoland, but not so well known elsewhere, the Aon Center is the quiet, dignified supertall in the Chicago skyline. It lacks the flashy spires of Sears and Hancock, and instead goes for vertical stripes to add extra visual height to its already impressive stature.

From a distance, the building feels like another boring grey 1970's stone block. But to really appreciate the Aon Center, you have to walk right up to it and crane your neck to see the top. Fortunately, this is possible thanks to a sunken plaza in front of the building with some rather extensive fountain work. This creates an area that is a pleasure for people on hot summer days, while at the same time protects the building from would-be truck bombers.

Height and location give the Aon Center's tenants remarkable views in all directions. People facing south look over Grant Park; people with west-facing windows can look at The Loop; people with eastern exposures are treated to Lake Michigan sunrises and boating activities; and people on the northern face get to look up the Magnificent Mile and the Chicago coastline.

But the news hasn't always been bright for the Aon Center. In fact, it has been routinely maligned in the print media. At first, critics called the building's design bland and uninspired. Later, things started going wrong with the building. Most famously, just after the building was completed, its famed marble facade began to buckle. Stainless steel straps were wrapped around the building to keep any large chunks from falling off. It was all replaced with white granite at a cost of $60 million -- half what it cost to build the tower in the first place. That left the owners with 5,900 tons of unwanted marble. Some was turned into trinkets like paperweights. Some was donated to a company that makes trophies. A lot was used in landscaping at Governors State University, and at Amoco facilities across the nation.

Raw Data

Construction Start

1970

Construction End

1972

Cost

$120,000,000

By The Numbers

• Floor space: 2,700,000 square feet

Size[Explanation ♐]

Maximum Height: 1,136 feet / 346 meters

Floors[Explanation ♐]

83 stories above grade
5 below grade

Noteworthy Facts

• At the time of its completion, this was the tallest building in Chicago.
• At the time of its completion, this was the fourth-tallest building in the world.
• The building's original marble facade was from Carrara, the same Italian quarry used by Michaelangelo for his masterpiece "David."
• This building is connected to the city's underground pedestrian tunnel system.
• The sunken plaza is a great place to cool off in the Summer when the fountain is on. And if it's off there might be a book fair or some other event happening worth checking out.
• Bunnies. There are a number of rabbits who make their homes in the decorative planters on the Aon Center grounds. They are most visible when they come out at night to eat in peace.
• The sculpture made up of hundreds of rods sticking out of the ground is called "Untitled Sounding Sculpture" and was made by Harra Bertoia. The rods are 19 feet tall and make an especially eerie sound when the wind blows through them at night.

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Attributes

• skyscraper - See more: (local) (region) (global)
• office - See more: (local) (region) (global)
• commercial - See more: (local) (region) (global)
• retail - See more: (local) (region) (global)

People and Companies

Architecture Firm

Edward Durell Stone & Associates
Perkins and Will Corporation

Quotations

"...the worst thing that has happened to Chicago's skyline in the last 30 years." — Paul Gapp, Chicago Tribune, 1974

Timeline

• 1972: Construction was completed.
• 1973: The Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) surpassed this building as the tallest building in Chicago.
• 1974: A slab of marble facade came off the building and plunges through the roof of the Prudential Center Annex.
• 1989-1992: All 43,000 marble panels comprising the building's facade were replaced with granite from North Carolina. The marble panels were buckling and coming loose because of the harsh Chicago winters. It cost between $60- and $80 million to replace all the stone.
• November, 1991: A routine inspection finds that two steel columns in the building's lobby have to be reinforced. The <i>Chicago Tribune</i> reports that although building officials say there is no danger, additional steel plates are welded to the columns in question.
• 1998: This building was sold. The exact price was never made public, but estimated to be between $430 million and $440 million.
• January 1, 2001: The building's name was changed to Aon Center.
• May, 2003 : The Aon Center was sold for $465 million.
• March, 2007: A plan was floated to convert the top 13 stories of this tower to residential apartments or condominiums.
• July, 2015: This building was bought by Piedmont Office Realty Trust for $712 million.

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