Willis Tower has been an American architectural icon since 1973. In 2015, EQ Office and Blackstone, in partnership with Gensler, began a massive mixed-use redevelopment of the building to reconceive it as an urban workplace and destination. In 2021, EQ finalized the transformation of the 110-story property, marking the completion of the biggest restoration project in the building’s history.
Incorporating details traditionally used throughout Chicago architecture, the design team thoughtfully transformed the building by creating a localized atmosphere, engaging the streetscape and introducing Catalog - 300,000 SF of indoor and outdoor public space including new dining, entertainment and retail at the base of the Tower. Instituting an inclusive, human-centric approach, the team considered how the building would meaningfully impact the daily routines of the Tower’s tenants, visiting tourists, and the surrounding community. The updated structure inverted the previously closed off base with a new open concept to exude an inviting and approachable ambience. The transparency of the glass façade creates clear sight lines into the building, integrating the Tower into the neighborhood as a seamless extension of the urban streetscape.
Honoring the Tower's original architecture, the design takes cues from the building’s history while creating a contemporary and authentic Chicago experience. The team revitalized the space with enhancements including a new elevated outdoor terrace and an open lobby experience blending the lines between work and leisure. Willis Tower also set a standard for supertall sustainability, achieving LEED Platinum status by increasing efficiency and reducing waste.
Furthermore, Willis Tower launched a dynamic arts initiative, Art of the Neighborhood, to create art programming throughout the building. Two permanent installations, one from School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduate Jacob Hashimoto and the other from globally acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson, make art accessible to the surrounding community and city at large.