Why Was the Sears Tower Made

Formerly known as Sears Tower, Willis Tower is a 108-storey skyscraper standing in Chicago, Illinois state. Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world, at the time of its creation in 1973, even surpassed the World Trade Center in stature. Today, it is the 5th tallest building in the world when measured from roof to roof.

Planning and construction

With approximately 350,000 employees, in 1969, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was the largest retailer in the world. The administrative motive behind constructing such a huge building was that Sears Company wanted to consolidate its employees to one fine place, along the western edge of Chicago’s Loop, instead of sporadic placement throughout Chicago city.

Sears Tower Why Was the Sears Tower Made

Sears placed a huge architectural order on Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to erect a structure that would be one of the largest buildings of the world accommodating at least 3 million square feet with predictions and plans for future growth in addition. The architectural team working under them included Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan who designed the building in the form of nine square “tubes”, each tube being a separate building.

The nine tubes that form the basic structure of the building ran up to the 50th floor of the building. Reaching at the 50th floor, the northwest and southeast tubes terminate, while the remaining seven continue soaring up. At the 66th floor, the northeast and the southwest tubes terminate while the north, east, and south tubes end at 90th floor. Finally the rest of the western and central tubes reach up to the 108th floor.

Sears executives wanted to place their Merchandise Group in the tower as soon as possible to have an efficient mutual access. It was planned to rent out floor space to small business concerns, which could be later on got back for further expansion, if any. To cater for these ends, flooring apartments were made small with greater window space to flooring space ratio to attract prospective lessees. Small floor area meant greater number of apartments and greater number of apartments meant more stories / floors . . .

Two television antennas were fixed to the structure, in February 1982, extending its total height to 1,707 feet. On June 5, 2000, in order to improve reception of local TV stations the western antenna was later added to 1,730 feet.

From legal aspects, Sear’s naming rights expired in the year 2003. However, the building continued to be referred to as ‘Sears’ for the same year later also. In March 2009, a London based business group ‘Willis’ purchased a portion of the tower on lease under the condition that the building would be transferred to their company name, Willis. Accordingly on July 16, 2009 the building was transferred to Willis name.

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