Tower Place - Chicago, Illinois
Tallest Reinforced Concrete Building, 1975 - 1990
Concrete contractors have come a long way since the building
of the Ingalls Building in 1904, and Chicago, Illinois has
become a popular place to build concrete high rises. One reason
for this is because the Windy City has a good supply of high
quality fly ash, a cement aggregate that allows contractors
to produce a more workable concrete without adding more water.
Water Tower Place in Chicago was the tallest reinforced concrete
building in the world from 1975 to 1990, when it was surpassed
in height by 311 South Wacker Drive, also in Chicago. Water
Tower Place is 76 stories, 859 feet tall and contains concrete
with a strength of up to 9,000 psi.
Named after the Chicago Water Tower, the building was designed
by Loebl, Schlossman, Dart & Hackl. The general contractor
was Inland-Robbins Co. and the concrete was supplied by Material
Service Corporation. Contractors used both lightweight and
normal weight concrete, as well as high strength concrete.
A conventional design was used for the bottom 12 floors and
a tubular design for the top 64 stories.
Without the development of high-strength concrete, Water
Tower Place would not exist today. In the 1950s, any concrete
with a compressive strength of 5,000 psi was considered high-strength.
That definition changed in the 1960s, when high-strength concrete
was anywhere between 6,000 and 7,500 psi. It wasn't until
the early 1970s that concrete with a strength of 9,000 psi,
the strength of some of the concrete used on Water Tower Place,
was developed. Advancements in improving concrete's strength
have continued to improve the material even beyond the time
Water Tower Place was created. Today concrete can reach strengths
approaching 20,000 psi.
Only some of the cement in Water Tower Place is a strength
of 9,000 psi. Concrete contractors used 11 different mixes,
varying from 3,000 psi for the slabs to 9,000 psi for the
columns. The structural system of the building consists of
reinforced concrete on the outside with steel columns on the
inside and steel slabs topped with composite concrete. At
2/3 the height of the tallest steel building when it was built,
Water Tower Place serves as an example of how cement's abilities
make it a strong rival of steel.
Not only is the building composed of concrete, but concrete
also lies underneath the building site. Construction was delayed
unexpectedly for several weeks when concrete contractors discovered
a stream running under the building site. Concrete saved the
day-and millions of dollars. A giant concrete dome was used
to plug the water so that construction could continue.
Moore Construction Company
This website is provided by Bob Moore Construction,
a leading concrete construction company in Texas. The company is a member of AGC and the OSHA Local Partnership Program.
Moore Construction is proud to be a sustaining member of the Tilt-Up Concrete
Association (TCA). Founded in 1986, the TCA is the country's largest organization
for the advancement of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete
wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Sustaining members of the
TCA are major industry leaders who have committed to an advanced level of involvement
with the organization and the tilt-up industry. Bob Moore Construction employees
have served in top positions with this prestigious association, including president
and member of the board of directors.
For more information about Bob Moore
Construction's green building program, please visit their website at