standard Willis Tower, the tallest building in the western hemisphere

Willis_Tower Sears Tower chicago

Willis Tower - Chicago

Willis Tower, also known as Sears Tower , located in Chicago, Illinois is a 108-story, 1451-foot (442 m) skyscraper . Standing at 1,451 feet and 110 stories high, Willis Tower is the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

At the time of its completion in 1974, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years. The Willis Tower is still the tallest building in the United States and the 7th tallest building  in the world .

Although Sears’ naming rights expired in 2003, the building continued to be called Sears Tower for several years. In March 2009 London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings, Ltd. agreed to lease a portion of the building and obtained the building’s naming rights. On July 16, 2009, the building was officially renamed Willis Tower.


Willis Tower - Chicago

Design & construction

Designed by the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for Sears, Roebuck & Company, the world’s largest retailer at the time, the Willis Tower provides an exceptional West Loop location, unparalleled views from all of the property’s highly efficient floors and unmatched prestige. With comprehensive security networks and a wide range of top-quality amenities, Willis Tower is an ideal location for business. The building contains approximately 3.8 million rentable square feet including approximately 159,000 RSF of retail space. The Property also features a 160-car executive parking garage accessible from Franklin Street. Other amenities include a world-class broadcast platform, tallest skydeck, full-service conference center, fitness facility, and exceptional technology features.

Completed May 3, 1973, Willis Tower rises to a height to 1,451 feet and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Chicago skyline and in the world. The building held the record for the world’s tallest building for 25 years until the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia were built in 1998.

In 1982, the antennas added to the building increased its total height to 1,704 feet. In 2000, one of the building’s antennas was extended to 1,729 feet, making it the world’s tallest building to the tip of its antenna. The building held this title until early 2009 when Burj Dubai topped out at over 2,600 feet, making it the tallest man-made structure ever built.

The Skydeck Willis Tower

The Skydeck - Willis Tower

The Skydeck

The Sears Tower observation deck, called the Skydeck, opened on June 22, 1974. Located on the 103rd floor of the tower, it is 1,353 feet (412 m) above ground and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Chicago. Tourists can experience how the building bends on a windy day. They can see far over the plains of Illinois and across Lake Michigan to Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin on a clear day. Elevators take tourists to the top in about 60 seconds. The Skydeck competes with the John Hancock Center’s observation floor a mile and a half away, which is 323 feet (98 m) lower. About1.3 million tourists visit the Skydeck annually. A second Skydeck on the 99th floor is used when the 103rd floor is closed.

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