John Hancock buildingSeveral buildings bear this name. They were all built by John Hancock Insurance which was named after John Hancock.
The John Hancock Building (officially the John Hancock Center) in Chicago, Illinois is a one-hundred story, 1,100 foot tall skyscraper completed in 1968. The building is home to offices and restaurants, as well as more than 700 apartments. The first residential lease for the Hancock building was signed by Benjamin Gingiss, who lived in the building until his death.
The 95th floor has long been home to a fine restaurant, the latest incarnation being called The Signature Room on the 95th Floor. While patrons dine, they can look out the windows overlooking Chicago and Lake Michigan. The Lake Shore Drive along the shore and the colorful and busy uptown area just below the building provide a better night scene than the views from the Sears Tower which is on the west edge of downtown.
The Hancock Building is also home to an observation deck with exhibits about the city of Chicago. Maps explain what the visitor is seeing and a special meshed in area allows the visitors to feel the winds 1,000 feet above ground level.
The Hancock building was erected on the site of Cap Streeter's shanty.
The building is renowned for having had numerous engineering flaws; the most notorious design flaw was the attachment of its glass windows, causing windows to keep falling off the building until the flaw was finally solved and all the windows were replaced. The windows are reflective. If they were not, the building would be too hot to occupy most of the year. As it is, the air-conditioning system runs year round. The falling-window problem was caused by a combination of the mounting method used and pressure differentials between the inside air and the outside. During the repairs, the windows were replaced with plywood, earning it the sobriquet "Plywood Palace".
Other flaws in the building included an extreme amount of swaying, alleviated by a giant counterweight in the top floor; and a tendency of the building to drill into the bedrock, causing the surrounding buildings to also sink and suffer structural damage. John Hancock Insurance was forced to puchase the Copley Hotel and make major repairs to shore up H. H. Richardson's Trinity Church.
The Hancock Building is home to an observation deck with exhibits about the city of Boston. Maps explain what the visitor is seeing and on the side facing the Logan Airport visitors can listen to the airport radio traffic. Unfortunately, after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack, the observatory is closed for the time being.
There is another John Hancock Building in Boston, a little nearer to the river. It is considerably shorter than the shining blue parallelogram of the neighboring tower, but is still a landmark recognizable to commuters crossing the Charles River. A drawing of this older building served as a logo for the insurance company for many years. It is topped by a beacon with red and blue lights with a code for presenting the local weather forecast, using a popular rhyme as a mnemonic:
- Steady blue, clear view.
- Flashing blue, clouds due.
- Steady red, rain ahead.
- Flashing red, snow instead.