Chicago-based James McHugh Construction Co. has landed a contract to build Aqua, an 823-ft. reinforced concrete condominium and hotel tower whose unique
Chicago-based James McHugh Construction Co. has landed a contract to build Aqua, an 823-ft. reinforced concrete condominium and hotel tower whose unique floor-to-floor exterior detailing is sure to challenge the most seasoned forming crews. Scheduled for a late-2009 completion near downtown Chicago, the project features undulating waves of concrete balconies. They impart a rippling effect, notes Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, that mirrors striated limestone outcroppings and formations seen throughout the Great Lakes. Studio/Gang/Architects is designing the exterior; Chicago-based Loewenberg & Associates is the lead architect.
The Aqua design calls for no repetition in the ripples of the 0- to 12-ft. deep balconies. In many ways, Aqua will be the Marina City of our generation with the way we’re taking a new direction in using concrete for the exterior, says McHugh Senior Vice President Dave Alexander.
One of the world’s most recognized concrete icons, Marina City features twin, 62-story circular condominium towers whose uniform, semicircular balcony treatments resemble corncobs. The early 1960s job helped establish McHugh Construction as a key player in the world’s top market for height-record-setting reinforced concrete structures.
The $500 million Aqua project will consume 100,000 yd. of concrete supplied by Prairie Material Sales, Alexander notes, with the schedule including lower-column mixes up to 12,000-psi design strength. The concrete phase is projected to span 24 months, part of a 34-month schedule toward 2010. Work on the Aqua will proceed as McHugh and Prairie continue work on Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 1,134-ft. (1,362 ft. with spire) structure that will set a new height record for a North American reinforced concrete building.