Friday, February 20, 2015

Boeing Corporate Headquaters
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Boeing Corporate Headquarters (1990) Ralph Johnson/Perkins + Will, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

When partner and lead designer Ralph Johnson of Perkins + Will oversaw a group of architects and engineers working on a new project in the late 1980s, they confronted a challenge, constructing a skyscraper over an active set of train tracks. Although building over train lines was nothing new, this site presented a unique problem - some of the structural members needed to support building would land smack in the middle of the tracks.

  [Boeing Corporate Headquarters, 100 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

To solve the problem the engineers came up with a solution that called for a system of trusses that would cantilever, or hang, over the section of track where there was no room for train-blocking support columns. With that issue taken care of, the architects added a colonnade along the base of the box for moral support. Tenants may have been fearful of occupying a building that didn't look like it was being held up, the way we think a building should be held up. In a moment of whimsy, the designers also added a projecting slab that rose out the main tower and added a clock face to its flat sides. At 560 feet above street level, the clock has been called the tallest in the world.

 [Boeing Corporate Headquarters, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The building gained a bit of notoriety at the turn of the 21st century when Boeing, makers of airplanes and high-tech military equipment, decided to leave their Seattle home of almost 100 years and relocate their corporate headquarters to Chicago. The move was intended to create a new image for the older, established company in a new century. To be known as the Boeing World Headquarters, the choice of name and decision to move did not sit well with their world-wide employees, especially when word started leaking out about how much money executives were spending on their new offices.
After a series of scandals, which happened not long after after the moving in, which   included a military contract fixing conviction and an affair between the chairman and a subordinate, the new chairman and CEO named the building to a much less inflammatory Boeing Corporate Headquarters in 2006, which didn't seem to ruffle any feathers.

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