Aon Center, Chicago
Originally (and somewhat notoriously) this was the Amoco Building.
At 1136 feet, the Aon Center is currently Chicago's second tallest structure - behind Sears, but ahead of "Big John" Hancock. Soon, however, the Trump Thing will push Aon into third place. And if it's built, the Calatrava spire will leave everything else in the dust.
In "Chicago's Famous Buildings" (4th Edition), written by Franz Schulze and Kevin Harrington, the Aon Center is described as "the giant building Chicagoans love to hate. Because of the decline in the reputation of its architect, its absence of corner offices, and the replacement of the original marble cladding with the present granite, it is the subject of a rich local folklore."
The architect behind the Aon Center was the modernist Edward Durrell Stone (1902-1978), who seems to have revelled in the big and geometrically precise. Among Stone's other creations are the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and the original - and recently demolished - Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
This "Moose on the Loose" is currently grazing in front of the Tribune Tower, just off Michigan Ave. north of the drawbridge.
It's the work of Chicago-area sculptor John Kearney, who has created a number of similar creatures scattered through the Chicago area.
(There are three deer grazing on the elevated plaza just to the side of the Aon Tower on Randolph.)
Here's a little known corner of Chicago. At the base of the rather forbidding Aon Center tower is a small sculpture garden - in one of which stands a small grove of trees. There you will find these three metalic deer, seeming to chomp away at the foiliage.
At first I thought they were horses - but what would horses be doing in the middle of a clump of trees?
Anyway, they are the work of Chicago-based sculptor John Kearney (1924- ). Kearney was educated at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, and the University per Stranieri in Perugia Italy, and was the co-founder (in 1950) of the Contemporary Art Workshop here in Chicago. Apparently, he learned how to weld when he was in the US Navy during World War II!
Another one of his heroic animals, the Moose on the Loose, can currently (2007) be seen in front of the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. Itsfunhavingfun (Kevin) tells me that there are other pieces of his scattered throughout Chicagoland.
I put the Aon in the "General Tip" section rather than "Things to do". The reason is, though it is the second tallest building in Chicago, I believe that it is not open to the public. I am therefore bringing it to your attention.
Facts regarding the Aon Center
Height: 342 meters tall.
Height: 1136 feet tall.
Height: rank 2 in Chicago, after Sears
Height: rank 3 in USA, after Sears and Empire State
Height: rank 14 in World
Floors: 83 (It has less floors than John Hancock, but is slightly taller!)
I have enjoyed putting all my pictures form my holiday into my VT pages. I am slowly going to add commentary to this page as well as the rest of my Chicago page.
200 East Randolph Street, 60601
Chicago IL United States
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In the Loop neighborhood downtown (on 200 East Randolph Street) stands the modern skyscraper known as the Aon Center. It was the tallest building in Chicago in the years 1973 and 1974; once the Sears Tower was complete, it lost that honor. However, it still is the tallest building in the United States to ever change its name. For a long time, it was known as the Amoco Building and then the Standard Oil Building.
Although it is basically a straight up and down skyscraper, it still has character. A sunken plaza leads to the main entrance off of East Randolf Street, which makes it interesting for we "mere" humans to gaze upward in awe of what man is capable of producing.
Aon Center is over 300 meters tall, and it is the tallest building in the world that does not have any major spires or finials at the top.
Each side of the building has 15 vertical bands of black recessed between triangular white piers.
Unfortunately, the original marble facade had to be removed for safety reasons. This was Carrara marble from Italy! They ground the marble up and used it to surround many Amoco refinery properties, including the Amoco refinery in Whiting, Indiana.
Standard Oil Company developed the property, and today it is owned by Wells Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc.
Fondest memory: I first took note of the Aon Center because my daughter Jill worked there for more than a year. I was impressed with the wonderful views that businesses in the center have, whether it's the city skyline, the lake, or the Chicago River. It has 83 floors of unobstructed viewing.
The beautiful sunken area and water features are beautiful. There are places to eat in that area with outdoor seating, which is quite pleasant.
I took the photograph while in Millennium Park near the Jay Pritzker Pavillion and Great Lawn.
NOTE; Click on photo to see a panoramic of the entire structure.