This month’s blog post in our Building Blocks series may cause a few of you palpitations but don’t worry we won’t make you step out on to the Willis Tower Balconies!
Now, we have your attention let’s have a look at the Tower first with a few astonishing facts.
Located in Chicago, it was called the Sears Tower until 2009 when it was bought by the Willis Group, a London- based global insurance broker. It stands 443m tall, is the eighth tallest building in the world and cost over $150million to build.
It took three years to be built by some 2,000 workers and, the moment you have all been waiting for, has about 16,100 bronze coloured windows. Now, there would be a lot of elbow power required to keep all those windows clean but 6 roof-mounted robotic window washing machines keep them sparkling. A lot safer as well!
We could tell you more about the Tower but we know you want to hear about the balconies. They are situated on the 103rd floor which is called the Skydeck. Some 1.3million tourists visit the Skydeck every year.
Although they look very scary and you would certainly need a head for heights to venture out, the following description may put your mind at rest.
The balconies are actually glass boxes that extend out 4.3 feet from the side of the tower. They are made up of three layers of half inch thick glass that has been laminated in to one unit, which makes them very strong and prevents any steel supports obscuring the view. If you are brave enough to stand out on the glass floor, you will be looking down at the city of Chicago and beyond from a height of 1,353 feet.
To ensure the view is always brilliantly clear, the glass boxes can go back inside the tower for cleaning and essential maintenance. What a great safety feature.
To truly appreciate the scale of the experience you can watch this short video with views from the balcony and then you can decide for yourself if you could take a peek!