ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 3 - May/June

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 105 of 147

LOFTY LANDMARK IN MAY OF 1973, SEARS TOWER BECAME THE WORLD'S TALLEST BUILDING, INDELIBLY MARKING THE CHICAGO SKYLINE AND CHANGING THE ENGINEERING OF TALL STRUCTURES AROUND THE GLOBE. by jay pridmore IF THE CHARACTERS FROM 1970s quite like the building now known as the Willis Tower. When it went up, it housed a modern organizational behemoth. Workplace dramas were conducted in early office pods that stretched across vast color-coordinated floors. The word processing department was permanently air-conditioned, and employees were cautioned against nylons, lest static electricity erase digital mountains of typing. Security cameras, rare at the time, gave a Chicago Daily News reporter "the feeling that a kindly Big Brother is watching you." We now know that fashions come and go. Names change. But buildings are (virtually) forever, and great buildings become icons, as Willis Tower remains this year on the occasion of its 40th anniversary. The Tower lost some cachet temporarily after 1992, when Sears Roebuck vacated, but never its boldness. Now its brio is back as many of its floor plates, once considered too vast, are said to be perfect for efficiency-minded tenants. The 103rd-floor Skydeck, a longtime tourist favorite, was renovated with glass ledges, and 1.5 million people PHOTOGRAPHY BY THINKSTOCK Mad Men, those aspiring masters of the universe in the 1960s, had survived another decade or so, their wardrobes would have changed to wider ties and (maybe) double-knit. They would have witnessed the onset of word processing. They might have entered real estate, moved to Chicago, and taken an office on the upper floors of Sears Tower, which claimed the title of world's tallest building when it opened on May 3, 1973. Few buildings expressed the zeitgeist of the 104 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 104-109_MA_FEAT_Heritage_Sum_Fall_13.indd 104 4/16/13 6:01 PM

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