Loving the Sears Tower in Photographs

Truth be told, when visitors come to town I take them to the top of the John Hancock rather than the Sears Tower (I know, Willis Tower… ).

I like the view better from The Hancock. I love that you can see up and down the lakefront. I love that it’s in an older part of the city. I love being there at dusk.

I love the story about the pioneering engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan – who worked on both the Sears and the Hancock – and his daughter, Yasmin Sabina Kahn also an engineer, and how construction was stopped for a while and lost millions of dollars due to a mistake laying the concrete foundation. Innovation can be risky…

I love the history.

So, I love the Hancock. But I guess more so from the inside looking out. When I’m walking street-side it’s the Sears Tower that grabs my attention. It’s bold and dramatic and commanding.

A few years ago I started photographing the Sears; responding to a moment of weather, a glance of light, an angle of view; appreciating its siting and ‘object-ness’. An on-going, on-the-fly photo essay of admiration.

There are big changes afoot at the Willis Tower. with a $500 million dollar renovation underway. When Alexander Calder’s ‘Universe’ sculpture was dismantled and removed from the lobby it felt like the universe had shifted. (While the sculpture wasn’t technically public, that still feels an irony in Chicago’s ‘Year of Public Art’.)

The Willis renovation promises to change the building’s presence from ‘street to sky’.

So with all that going on, this seems an opportune time to offer a capture of the place as I’ve seen it up to now; an installment from my on-going photo exploration. Enjoy.

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