Aqua Tower, with its wavy exterior and Lake Michigan views, is open now in Chicago’s Lakeshore East community. For a fascinating perspective on the 82-story apartment/condo/office tower, and a profile of the architect, Jeanne Gang, of Studio Gang Architects, check out The New Yorker (Feb. 1, 2010 edition).
Aqua Tower is getting a wave of good reviews for many reasons, but its most obvious attribute is the undulating cantilevered balconies, which change slightly from floor to floor, forming a curvaceous façade that also shades apartments and protects the building and balcony sitters when Chicago’s hawk talks (that’s Chicagoan for “oooh, it’s so windy”). No two balconies are alike. There’s also a big rooftop garden. And LEED certification is being pursued.
Condos range from about $300,000 to $2 million; rents start around $1,500 per month.
Says The New Yorker, “It reclaims the notion that thrilling and beautiful form can still emerge out of the realm of the practical.” And it calls Gang an “anti-diva” for the building’s lack of conceit.
Some critics and bloggers complain, though, that the balconies are gimmicky ornaments disguising a traditional box structure. Indeed, The New Yorker notes Aqua is “an ordinary glass condo tower” turned into something exciting. What do you think? Let us know.
(Note: Almost a month after this post was published, Aqua Tower was named 2009 Skyscraper of the Year, an annual award issued by Emporis.)
For more information about Aqua Tower, visit Magellan Development.
Photos via: Studio Gang Architects