875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly John Hancock Center)

Venue: 875 North Michigan Avenue, Floor 36

875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly John Hancock Center) is one of the most iconic buildings on the Chicago skyline. Completed as the city’s tallest building in 1969, it is notable both for its novel use of a braced-tube structural system, and its mixed-use program. It accommodates residential, commercial, and office spaces, and exhibits the scale and grandeur of a robust tower of strength with honest visual expression, without embellishment. It introduced a new, recognizable vocabulary of structural expression of tall buildings that continues today, with contemporary variations like the diagrid system. The exterior bracing allowed 875 North Michigan to consume the same amount of steel as that of a conventional building half its height. Due to its distinctive, elegant style and unique views up and down the lakefront, it remains a popular tourist destination for Chicago, even as it has slipped in the rankings to become the city’s fourth-tallest. Its observatory has been updated with new features, including TILT, a hinged glass box that tilts outward, giving occupants a thrilling downward-facing view of the streets more than 300 meters below.

Guests were invited to attend presentations and tours through various spaces of this historic building, including the observatory on the 94th floor. Leadership from SOM and building representatives shared insights about the building’s structural innovation, architectural legacy and future impact.

Thursday, 31 October Schedule:

Morning Afternoon Program
8:30 am 2:00 pm Arrival & Coffee
8:55 am 2:25 pm Welcome from Program Host
9:00 am 2:30 pm Presentation Session + Q&A
(see speaker details below)
10:20 am 3:50 pm Coffee Break
10:45 am 4:15 pm Tour of 875 North Michigan Avenue led by SOM and 360 Chicago
12:00 pm 5:30 pm Delegates depart


Kindly Organized by



Program Speakers

Chair: William Baker
Consulting Structural Engineering Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
William Baker

William Baker

Consulting Structural Engineering Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
“Explore the World's First Mixed-Use Supertall”
Senior Representative

Senior Representative

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
“Presentation 2
(Title to be Confirmed)”
Senior Representative

Senior Representative

360 Chicago
“Presentation 3
(Title to be Confirmed)”

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