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John Hancock Tower in the SkyscraperPage Database

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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2009, 3:38 AM
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BOSTON | John Hancock Tower | 790 FT / 240 M | 60 FLOORS | 1976

An imposing and sleek crystal slab of glass nearly 800' tall, the John Hancock Tower dominates the Back Bay skyline and the city of Boston.

Designed by Henry Cobb of PeiCobbFreed, the tower fronts the amazing H.H.Richardson Trinity Church. Cobb gave deference to the square and the church by using a parallelogram shape and placing the small axis in front.

The building, typical of the era, doesn't meet the street very well (unfortunately I don't have any photos), but as a sculptural object, it's spectacular.

During construction this tower had a number of problems. The minimal curtain wall design didn't appropriately address the wind conditions and over half of the tower's 10,000 glass panels fell out. There's a great photo in Carter Wiseman's book on Pei that shows the building shrouded in cardboard. The actual liability and details of the curtain wall issues (and who had to pay for what) were never released. A secondary issue that arose during construction was similar to the Citicorp Center in NYC, where the engineers realized the building could topple over in certain wind conditions. Even more scary, the weak axis was actually the short one! Additional bracing was added during construction to counteract this.

The building has an observation deck on the 60th floor, but I believe that the deck has been closed since 9/11.

































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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2009, 5:33 PM
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It looks like it could use some company in the skyline.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 5:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plinko View Post
During construction this tower had a number of problems. The minimal curtain wall design didn't appropriately address the wind conditions and over half of the tower's 10,000 glass panels fell out. There's a great photo in Carter Wiseman's book on Pei that shows the building shrouded in cardboard. The actual liability and details of the curtain wall issues (and who had to pay for what) were never released.
Are you sure about this? My Architectural History professor this year was with IM Pei & Partners at the time of this incident. He wasn't involved with the project, but he claims that the builder was held responsible because Pei & Partners held a drawing which proved that the window gaskets had been installed incorrectly. I can't imagine he'd tell a bunch of students something that was supposed to be kept secret.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 7:58 AM
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Quite a pleasant building from certain angles and under certain lighting conditions, but overall I'm not very much of a fan. A slab is a slab is a slab...
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Are you sure about this? My Architectural History professor this year was with IM Pei & Partners at the time of this incident. He wasn't involved with the project, but he claims that the builder was held responsible because Pei & Partners held a drawing which proved that the window gaskets had been installed incorrectly. I can't imagine he'd tell a bunch of students something that was supposed to be kept secret.
Well, it has been over 30 years, so it's quite possible that at a certain point the principals involved were no longer prohibited from talking about it.

I was merely paraphrasing Carter Wiseman's book on Pei (from 1991) and other sources I've read over the years (mostly in the early to mid-90's) that all said that the findings and liabilities were kept private.

Nonetheless...problem solved now...

BTW, who was your professor? (I'm just curious)
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 11:24 PM
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La Tour Montparnaston
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2009, 6:21 PM
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Some of you may remember that prior to 9/11, the Hancock used to have a sweet observation deck. Well, thanks to one trusty urban explorer DZH22 from archboston.com, some of that experience has been recaptured.

Check it out here:

http://www.archboston.org/community/...ead.php?t=2647

Here is one particularly creepy shot:

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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 5:18 AM
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wins the least worthy of a thread building award.
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Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 7:17 AM
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wins the least worthy of a thread building award.
Wins most idiotic post in this section
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 4:58 PM
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That was a dumb comment, wasn't it?

As for the building, it has aged quite well... better than Boston's other 700+ footer.
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 9:57 PM
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of course it was dumb. thus appropriate to the building. i mean a thread on this one? really? certainly its not offensive or anything, but even at best it's an unremarkable slab. well, outside of being as someone else said la tour montparnasseston. sorry bostonites, ya got better.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 10:00 PM
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^^^Same can be said about the Sears Tower? It's also plain but is the country's tallest building. But I love this building, I hope they do reopen the observation floor, the views are amazing!
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 4:09 AM
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Wow, I didn't know they gutted the observation deck when it was closed. That deck was the first one I actually visited.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 7:36 AM
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I think this building DOES deserve it's own thread! It's beautiful, simple, has aged magnificently and still looks sharp!

It's just too bad the observation deck is closed. What's the reason for them not re-opening it?
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 1:17 AM
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From what I have heard and read its possible several parties shared responsibilty for replacement of glass panels. Believe Hancock wanted the large windows but was told its not possible and they wanted it done anyway.

The windows still break regularly(although now they stay in place), nobody knows exactly why many say its just imperfections in the glass.

One could argue that the Hancock is actually 62 or 63 stories. I believe the 2nd floor is actually titled "mezzanine" but only has a few offices on it. The 7th and 8th are mechanical and there are 2 stories of mechanical space above the old 60th floor observation deck
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 1:23 AM
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Gorgeous slab.
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  #17  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 12:50 PM
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Last time I was in Boston, I went to the top of the Prudential tower (whenever I visit a new city, I always go to the highest obs deck, if there is one). I wondered why the Pru deck remained open, rather than the Hancock obs.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 2:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
of course it was dumb. thus appropriate to the building. i mean a thread on this one? really? certainly its not offensive or anything, but even at best it's an unremarkable slab. well, outside of being as someone else said la tour montparnasseston. sorry bostonites, ya got better.
Come back to this thread when you learn that a building's form is about 1% of the architectural formula to create a building.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
of course it was dumb. thus appropriate to the building. i mean a thread on this one? really? certainly its not offensive or anything, but even at best it's an unremarkable slab. well, outside of being as someone else said la tour montparnasseston. sorry bostonites, ya got better.
First of all we're Bostonians.

Second, this building was a first of its kind and a beautiful grand gesture that completely changed the Boston skyline and influenced all of Henry Cobb's designs thereafter. Although you probably don't care about all that since you seem to be obsessed with the building's superfluous proportions.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 1:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blade_bltz View Post
Some of you may remember that prior to 9/11, the Hancock used to have a sweet observation deck. Well, thanks to one trusty urban explorer DZH22 from archboston.com, some of that experience has been recaptured.

Check it out here:

http://www.archboston.org/community/...ead.php?t=2647

Here is one particularly creepy shot:

Though it was a couple years ago, we were kept relatively up to date on the views from the top of 200 Clarendon St. thanks to DZH. Hell, I would have done exactly the same thing myself.

Last time I went up was 1 year before this crap (terrorist bastards) happened, so it's not like the only time I went up was 3 days after the tower opened.
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