john hancock on WBEZ’s Curious City

hancock sofitelWBEZ’s Curious City is a brilliant segment that answers listener’s questions about Chicago–if you want to know why steak and lemonade is a thing, or are curious about why certain street names are pronounced the way they are,  they’ve got your back.  Warning: the archive is addictive.

This week they cover the history of the John Hancock Tower (I know, 875 North Michigan is its official title, but come on).  I was happy to throw in some thoughts about why you’d build a 100-story building a mile north of the Loop in the 1960s, how a hollow tube structure helped it become the most efficient tall building on the planet, and how one tall building can be better than two shorter ones.  They also speak with Yasmin Khan, Fazlur’s daughter and also a structural engineer, about Khan’s career and his inspiring but far too short career with SOM.  Her story about her father quietly lurking on north Michigan Avenue to hear passers-by talk about the Hancock is worth a listen on its own.

UPDATE:  There’s a video version, too..

first skyscrapers panel at 10th CTBUH world congress

Figure 04

Not this one.

Oh, this is going to be good.  CTBUH has announced that, as part of its 10th World Congress next year in Chicago, it will host a symposium on “first skyscrapers.”  I’ve been part of a consultant team that’s helped them formulate the discussion–they’ve wisely decided to open it up to a Call for Abstracts, inviting anyone with a theory on how the term should be defined (or not) and/or what we should think about when claiming any tall building as a ‘first.’

From the call:

CTBUH is thus issuing a Call for Abstracts to all scholars of history and colleagues with an expertise in this field (including architecture, architectural history, construction, economics, engineering, and beyond) to answer the prompt, “What skyscraper could be considered a ‘first’ in a particular technological field or other dimension?” and to state upon what criteria this assertion is based.

More information on the symposium, and the official Call for Abstracts, here:

Deadline is 26 March, abstract length limited to 300 words.  Regular readers may have some idea of what I’m going to propose…and how tough it’s going to be for me to limit myself to that.

Start your engines…