Skyscraper of the Day: Meet The Trump International Hotel and Tower

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Trump International Hotel and Tower is a skyscraper located in downtown Chicago comprised of residential units and a hotel. The building, named after Donald Trump, was designed by architect Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm known for its innovative approaches to structures of supertall buildings beginning in the mid 20th century. The building is on the waterfront next to the Chicago river and stands 1,388 feet (423.2 m) tall including its spire, its roof topping out at 1,171 feet (357 m), and has 98 stories.

Initially Trump announced that the tower would be the tallest building in the world however after the 9/11 attacks the design underwent many revisions until the current design was finalized. At its completion in 2009, it was the second tallest building in America and contained the world’s highest residential unit. The building includes retail space and a hotel at the bottom with residences above.

The tower has rounded edges, which gives each of its faces character, and the façade of the building is covered in reflective mirrored glass that makes it glimmer in the river front skyline. This façade reflects the building’s neighbours and the Chicago river itself, creating a visual relationship between the tower and its surroundings. The design of the tower also communicates with its context in another way, the Trump Tower is designed with three setbacks. Each setback points toward an architecturally significant neighbor. The setbacks allow for “communication” with surrounding buildings. At 16 stories, the first is to the east of Trump Tower and corresponds to the height of the Wrigley Building. At 29 stories, the second points both north toward River Plaza and west to Marina City. All the way up at 51 stories, the third setback is west of Trump Tower and relates with 330 N. Wabash Ave, the last project in Chicago done by iconic modernist architect Mies Van De Rohe.

To enable the Trump Tower to withstand Chicago’s punishing wind loads, SOM used a concrete structural system often referred to as core and outrigger construction. The building has a central core of concrete with concrete arms (outriggers) that reach out across several key floors. The outriggers connect its central core with an exterior ring of structural columns.

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