A gorgeous skyscraper

This is Chicago’s Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel. As soon as I saw it, I decided I need to stay there, even if for one night. There isn’t a lot of architecture that moves me this way; I’m almost mesmerized by its undulating “waves.” And by the way, it’s the tallest building designed by a woman.

The “waves” look interesting but also kinda of stuck on as an afterthought. If they were removed, would the building look like a standard glass-and-steel tower?

I like it. My favorite is the Turning Torso in Sweden.

Saw a TV show on how the Turning Torso was built. No two floors are alike.

The upper floors of the Turning Torso don’t look level, but surely that is an optical illusion caused by the non-perpendicular sides.

Agreed. It doesn’t look like a wavy-shaped skyscraper; it looks like a normal skyscraper covered in wavy foam.

You have to see it in real life, walking around so you can see the light change. It is my wife and my favorite building in Chicago.

The waves are not “stuck on”, but are an essential part of the structure of the building. Each floor’s shape is different, and it was a way to give tremendous architectural interest to the building at a very low cost. No custom glass or metal had to be made, just the concrete forms moved around on each form.

Yeah, I saw that show. They had to deal with even harsher winters than Chicago.

I really should defrost my refrigerator. Thanks for the reminder.

IIRC, aren’t the waves functional in that it ensures maximum sunlight reaches all of the balconies? I remember something like that from the architecture boat tour I took in Chicago.

Well, that’s one way to keep 37 architects employed.

It looks… moldy.

It looks vaguely Gaudi-esque, but unlike Gaudi’s the wavy shapes are mere decoration, rather than fundamental to the support architecture.

It looks swollen and puffy like it has an infection.

Sick building syndrome, huh?

I can get seasick just looking at it. I’m glad I don’t live nearby.

It makes my nervous. I am very conventional in some ways.

I do like the picture of the entrance.

I don’t know if it’s my favorite building (I’m actually not sure what that would be for me in Chicago), but it is a welcome addition to the local architecture. It really is a beautiful building, IMHO.

Aqua is a visually interesting variation on an inexpensive concrete apartment building, but the supposed programmatic reason—carefully calculated view corridors from various floors—has never made a bit of sense to me. Every person in a ballpark can view home plate without having some seats randomly project and others recede.

More serious is that the building was built with no thermal break in the concrete slabs. To European architects, that’s a rookie mistake that wouldn’t allow a student to advance to second-year studies. The floor slabs are continuous concrete slabs that extend several feet beyond the windows, so throughout the Chicago winter it’s the world’s largest radiator.