Aqua Tower Chicago Why This One-of-a-Kind Skyscraper is Famous

Kevin Brown

Aqua Tower Chicago is famous for its one-of-a-kind design. With concrete slabs resembling waves, this skyscraper stands out in the skyline, offering residents beautiful views of the city and Lake Michigan. Although it’s only the 12th-tallest building in Chicago, Aqua’s uniqueness sets it apart.

Moreover, its convenient location makes it an ideal choice for both locals and visitors as it is within walking distance of numerous parks, attractions, restaurants, and shops.

Aqua Tower Chicago Why This One-of-a-Kind Skyscraper is Famous

Aqua stands at 859 feet tall and consists of 82 stories. Its wave-like balconies, varying in size on each floor, are particularly noteworthy. The building occupies a total floor space of 1,990,635 square feet.

Completed in 2009, Aqua was designed by Jeanne Gang from Studio Gang Architects. Notably, at the time, it was the tallest skyscraper designed by a woman. However, its status as the world’s tallest building designed by a woman has since been surpassed by St Regis Chicago, also designed by Gang.

Primarily a residential building, Aqua Tower is also mixed-use. It includes 55,000 square feet of office and retail space, as well as 215 hotel rooms, 476 rental units, and 263 condos, including penthouses. It was the first downtown Chicago building to combine condos, apartments, and a hotel in one structure.

The tower has an 82,550-square-foot terrace with pools, hot tubs, gardens, gazebos, fire pits, and a walking path. Aqua won the Emporis Skyscraper Award for 2009’s Skyscraper of the Year.

Magellan Development Group named the tower “Aqua” because of its wave-like exterior structure, which are actually balconies. Some of these balconies measure up to 12 feet and were made using irregularly shaped concrete slabs. The design of the waves was inspired by topographic views of the Great Lakes, and from many Aqua balconies, you can even see Lake Michigan.

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Each balcony is unique in size and shape, allowing for socialization between neighbors on different floors.


Aqua’s design resembles nature and is a sustainable structure. Terrace extensions provide more solar shading. The building features a water-efficient irrigation system, energy-efficient lighting, and greenery on the roof.

The majority of residential spaces in Aqua are luxury rentals, including studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. They range in size from 584 to 1,080 square feet. For those who need more space, condos or penthouses are available for purchase.

Aqua offers many resident amenities, such as pools, hot tubs, cabanas, grills, a running track, a fitness center, a business center, a media room, and an on-site parking garage. There are five levels of underground parking and a bike storage room. Pets are welcome in the apartments.

Additionally, Aqua includes hotel space.

The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel opened in 2011 after Carlson paid $125 million to add it to Aqua. The hotel rooms were built on floors 1 through 18, which were vacant.

The regular suites are 350 to 400 square feet, but the deluxe suites can reach 565 to 1,723 square feet. There’s a bar and grill on-site and room service. The hotel is within walking distance of Lake Michigan and many Chicago attractions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What’s Near Aqua Tower Chicago?

Lake Michigan is only a short walk from Aqua Tower. The building is also close to Millenium Park, Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Navy Pier.

How Much are Rentals at Aqua Tower Chicago?

Aqua apartments cost $2,053 to $4,029 per month. You can check the website for current prices and availability.

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Hotel rooms at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel range from $260 to $1,200 per night, depending on the suite. Check the website for current rates and availability.

The Aqua Rental Office is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

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