Vista Tower finally gets its glass

Vista’s new glass capturing a crisp reflection of the Chicago River and Navy Pier.

The skyscraper’s mirror-like exterior is coming together nicely

As Vista Tower continues its climb toward becoming Chicago’s third tallest building, the 101-floor project finally has some exterior glass to show. Crews began installing the clear stuff at 363 E. Wacker Drive earlier this month and will be working to enclose as much of the supertall tower as possible before the winter weather sets in.

Installation was initially scheduled to start last summer, according to a construction timeline shared with nearby residents in 2016. While neighbors have asked why the glass hasn’t shown up until now, Vista’s developers have remained tight-lipped about the situation saying everything is exactly on schedule.

Jay Koziarz

The nearly 1,200-foot combination condo and hotel skyscraper will use six distinct shades of glass for most of its exterior curtain wall. The coloration will incrementally shift by floor from light to dark and back, accentuating the undulating architectural design by Chicago firms Studio Gang and bKL Architecture.

While crews push forward to glaze the supertall tower’s lower floors, work continues at the top of Vista’s ever-growing concrete skeleton. The structure has cleared its final architectural setback and has two frustum-shaped stacks left to pour. This final section will contain the skyscraper’s unoccupied blow-through floor, created to lessen wind loads and reduce building sway.

Vista Tower is expected to reach its topping-off point early next year and will open to residents and hotel guests in 2020. In the meantime, you can follow the action on the project’s recently reactivated webcam.

Chicago-based Magellan Development and China-based partner Dalian Wanda broke ground on Vista Tower in mid 2016. This September, facing pressure from the Chinese regulators, Wanda entered a deal to sell its 60 percent stake in the Chicago project to Canada-based shopping mall developer Triple Five Group.

Jay Koziarz
The differing shades of glass is visible on the upper floors.
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