When completed in 1969, the John Hancock Center was the tallest building in the world outside New York City. A mixed use building of offices and retail, it also contains the highest residences in the world. One of the most famous buildings of the structural expressionist style, the skyscraper’s distinctive X-bracing exterior is actually a hint that the structure’s skin is indeed part of its ‘tubular system’. This idea is one of the architectural techniques the building used to climb to record heights (the tubular system is essentially the spine that helps the building stand upright during heavy wind loads). The only drawback from my point of view is the ceiling height in the condominiums; I have entertained in several units and while the night light views are expansive and the morning views above the clouds are a real pleasure, and a heavy diagonal beam slashing through a window adds a distinctive interest, there is a certain interior claustrophobia that modernism should alleviate — bets are, it was a client decision to pack more floors in.
John Hancock Center, by Skidmore Owings Merrill