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The John Hancock Center
by Ezra Stoller
2000, Princeton Architectural Press
From the front dust
The mixed-use tower, affectionately dubbed "Big John" by the Chicago press, was a sensation from the moment plans for it became public in 1965. With commercial space at ground level, followed by nine parking levels, 29 floors of office space, over 700 apartments (billed as the "world's highest residences"), a restaurant, an observatory, facilities for television and radio, and a pair of giant antennae, the building tops out at a skyscraping 1,449 feet.
Architectural photographer Ezra Stoller provides a unique record of the building, both during its construction and after its completion. His photographs of workmen casually moving about the nascent structure recall Lewis Hine's classic portraits of the Empire State Building, and provide a stark contrast to his images of the finished project with its luxurious apartments and commercial spaces.
The introduction by Yasmin Sabina Khan, the daughter of the building's celebrated engineer, provides a behind-the-scenes account of the design, construction, and reception of this landmark of modern architecture and engineering.
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