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March 17th, 2010

Chicago’s Willis Tower: Postcards from The Ledge

Published on March 17th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Credit: Willis Tower

I wrote about The Ledge in the Chicago’s Willis Tower when it first opened, and some of the science and technology that makes it possible. Now, I’ve been advised by my youngest daughter and her fianceé that while I am visiting this weekend they want an engagement photo to be taken of them in one of the four available glass boxes that extend 103 floors over the Wacker Drive area.

That creates something of a dilemma. Despite my rational understanding of glass strength, I learned to my surprise a couple of years ago that I had an irrational fear of extreme heights. This occurred when I tried to step onto the glass floor in the CN Tower in Toronto. And, word has it, The Ledge makes the CN’s glass floor look like a walk in the park.

So, somehow, I’ve got to work up enough nerve to watch my “baby” and her beloved boyfriend take their steps onto the ethereal Ledge, and at the same time keep myself composed enough to adjust my camera correctly for the conditions and snap the perfect picture.

Without question, The Ledge is an example of taking glass technology in one direction. On the other hand, The growing infamy of The Standard hotel overlooking Manhattan apparently represents a different – and somewhat inevitable – direction that glass-centric architecture and construction can go. Adding . . . that it appears from an older story in People that the managers for The Standard sometimes sort of have tried to clean up its reputation.



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