The Ledge, Chicago's Newest Attraction, Offers
Thrill Seekers a Glassy Experience
July 1, 2009
newest addition to Skydeck Chicago, part of the Sears Tower, dares
visitors to be among the first to step onto The Ledge, a series
of glass bays that extend from the building's 103rd floor. Reaching
out more than 4 feet from Skydeck Chicago's west side, visitors
have unobstructed views of Chicago 1,353 feet straight down.
MTH Industries, the Chicago-based 120-year-old glass and architectural
metal contractor that installed Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, installed
The Ledge's glass panels. Each glass box is comprised of three layers
of glass laminated into one seamless unit. The low-iron, clear glass
is fully tempered and heat-soaked for durability. The glass panels
weigh 1,500 pounds.
The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the building's
original designers, provided an innovative plan for this architectural
and engineering achievement. SOM designed The Ledge so that the
fully enclosed glass boxes rest between conveyer belts. The boxes
retract into the building, allowing easy access for cleaning and
maintenance. Each box provides unobstructed views of people, taxis,
boats and bridges over Wacker Drive and the Chicago River.
"The Sears Tower set architectural and engineering standards
when it was first built and now we are able to carefully craft new
elements that expand the capabilities of the original design while
retaining its integrity," said Ross Wimer, design partner,
Sears Tower has always been about innovation. For this new Skydeck
experience, we have kept with that tradition. Cantilevering out
from the side of America's tallest building, the viewing platform
will allow visitors to see the incredible city of Chicago literally
beneath their feet. This is a great addition to the Sears Tower
and to Chicago," added Bill Baker, structural engineer partner,
For those not daring enough to step onto The Ledge, those visitors
can stand on video screens to see what Chicago staples would look
like if they were standing on The Ledge, 103 floors above the pitching
mound at Wrigley Field, Millennium Park's Cloud Gate, North Avenue
Beach and many other locations.
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