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The Ledge at Chicago’s Willis Tower

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The Ledge is accessible from the Skydeck, which can attract up to 25,000 visitors on clear days.

On the 103rd floor of the 110-story-tall Chicago Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), one of the tallest buildings in the world, is the means to experience a breathtaking and unique view of the city – that is, if you’re brave enough. Extending 4.3 ft. from the skyscraper’s Skydeck, 1,353 ft. in the air, The Ledge is comprised of four glass boxes that give an unobstructed view of Chicago and four states, up to 50 miles.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the tower’s original architectural firm, the inspiration for The Ledge came from the hundreds of forehead prints left on windows by visitors trying to catch a glimpse of the view below. The boxes are comprised of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit. Each completed glass panel weighs 1,500 lbs. At 10 ft. high and 10 ft. wide, each box can hold up to five tons and are meant to give visitors the feeling of floating above the city. The low-iron, clear glass is fully tempered for durability.

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Elevator World | June 2011 Cover

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