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Aqua, Chicago
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This model consists of an estimated 3,000 pieces.
About this creation
This is my twenty-ninth skyscraper model. Aqua is located at 225 N. Columbus Drive in the Lakeshore East development area. This mixed-use residential skyscraper features an undulating façade that is meant to evoke the likeness of not only flowing water, but the shifting quality of topographical maps of rugged landscapes. The building was completed in 2009.

This is my seventeenth Chicago skyscraper model. The rather straight-forward, multi-level plaza and short base of this model allowed for both to be designed digitally. The tower itself, however, had to be designed on the spot as its form is too unpredictable to be designed digitally. While the overall building method of the tower is relatively simple, it is quite fragile throughout and can be prone to bending slightly if moved too suddenly. All in all though, I am quite satisfied with the end result. This model took a few weeks to design, about five days to build, and an overall month to complete. Model completed January 17th, 2014.

More photos on Brickshelf

LEGO® Digital Designer file here

Aqua is an 82-story skyscraper designed by architect Jeanne Gang and her team at Studio Gang Architects. At 859 ft, it is the tallest building in the world with a woman as lead architect. It is also the tenth tallest building in Chicago.





The driving force behind the design of Aqua was the desire to fuse nature and city into a solid structure. The main sources of inspiration behind the building were the form of eroded rock formations which can be found throughout the Great Lakes’ shorelines, in combination with the idea of the view of a city as akin to the view of a mountain landscape. Gang compared these ideas of uneven, yet solid, variations directly to the quality of water when designing Aqua.


The terrace level on the rooftop of Aqua's base features outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, gazebos, a running track and a fire pit. It is also the largest green rooftop in Chicago. The unique, organic quality of the garden presented a challenge when designing the model. I originally thought of making it with SNOT slopes and tiles, similar to the park design in my model of 311 South Wacker. I later opted for the current design using wedge plates, similar to my model of Trump International Hotel & Tower, which I felt had a better organic quality to it, as opposed to the more orthographically ideal design in my 311 South Wacker model.

The street along the plaza's east side borders one of Chicago's best kept secrets, The Park at Lakeshore East. Lining this street are apartments and condominiums, as well as a spiral staircase which provides access to the main entry level of the building.




The spiral staircase is topped by an oculus, providing excellent complementary views of the building when looking up through it. This happens to be my favorite spot to view Aqua.






A view of the main entrance. Aqua is home to the first Radisson Blu Hotel in the United States.







Looking down. The tower of the model is constructed using basic straight-up plate and tile stacking. Using pneumatic tubes and specifically placed gaps and clip plates in the façade, I was able to engineer the undulating form of the building's protruding floor plates quite accurately.




Here is my Aqua model connected to three of my other models, forming my largest geographically accurate cityscape.






A view from the southeast corner of one of Aqua's floors provides a view to the nearby Aon Center and Two Prudential Plaza. The protruding corner balconies specifically span up to twelve feet from the building so that lines of sight can be drawn between various corner balconies and nearby Chicago landmarks such as Cloud Gate and Navy Pier. One question that arises in thinking of the irregular floor plates is how the cantilevered balconies will hold up against the elements over time. For this consideration, the top surfaces of the concrete slabs were covered using a traffic coating which has a warranty of fifteen years. Similarly, the slabs’ undersides were coated with an elastomeric paint that has a warranty of ten years. Both layers will work to isolate any cracks in the slabs from potential moisture and will, so long as they are re-applied before expiration, keep the slabs performing indefinitely.

A last look at the four models from the south.



Comments

 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
As always great work and I look forward to getting a closer look in June at BW! ~ Chris.
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
Remarkable piece of engineering! Well done!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
this is definitely one of those MOCS that youe just have to leave a comment on. THere are some that you can look at and then close the page, but then there are THIS kind of MOC. The undulating facade on this building is truly a work of art! It looks like Lego has created a flexible pipe piece that you bought up a load of to make this work. Then, combining the view of this masterpiece with a handful of your other Chicago towers, we have an amazing shot to enjoy. Keep on building Chicago Towers!!!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
Fantastic skyscraper, and a great technique.
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
THAT... is A LOT of pneumatic tubing. God Bless BrickLink? --- a beautiful piece of work, on a unique bit of Chicago architecture. Cheers!~ =)
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
Wow! Really really good job!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
i agree with Matt (below)- all around, unique. but utterly fantastic. ;D
 I like it 
  January 26, 2014
Very impressive! A unique building that you have used a unique building technique to represent.
 I like it 
  January 25, 2014
It took me a minute before I realized how you built this... This is incredible! :D Great build :D
 I made it 
  January 25, 2014
Thanks everyone! Glad you all like it.
 I like it 
  January 25, 2014
This is absolutely incredible. The Aqua skyscraper is breathtaking in person, and you've managed to capture it with surprising accuracy. It's hard for a building to stand out in Chicago's rich skyline, but Aqua is certainly unique. I really enjoy seeing your Chicago models placed in proper geographic alignment.
 I like it 
  January 25, 2014
Looks great! A really clever and unique design, too.
  January 25, 2014
Fascinating structure!
 I like it 
  January 25, 2014
Wow...
 I like it 
  January 25, 2014
This is really amazing!
 
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Aqua, ChicagoLandmarks


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