East Loop skyscraper Aon Center unveiled its newly remodeled outdoor plaza. The $6.5 million remodel, just steps away from Millennium Park, began in early 2021 to revamp the architecture and refresh the landscape for tenants and guests alike. The new space will bring the greenspace of the park to Aon’s doorstep.
“The new plaza transforms the experience of Aon Center,” said Brian Whiting, President of The Telos Group, LLC which leases Aon Center. “Now you have a space that reflects one of the biggest assets in the East Loop: its access to greenspace and nature. Tenants of the building will have access to a stunning outdoor venue on their doorstep that offers a beautiful space to connect or relax and recharge.”
Aon Center was originally constructed in 1972 and was designed by architect Edward Durell Stone. In 2017 Aon Center went through a dynamic, multi-million-dollar renovation, including transformed lobbies and The Cloud Level, a new amenity package on the 70th floor featuring the city’s highest fitness center, an expansive tenant lounge and bar, and a conferencing center.
“The new lightweight sloping landform allows for a seamless transition and removal of the boundary between the public and private realms, offering opportunities for gatherings, café seating, after-hours lounging and a welcoming park-like environment,” said Brit Erenler, Landscape Architect with HGA. “The planted areas create changing vibrant interest through all seasons, and account for the complexities of existing infrastructure underneath the plaza.”
In addition to thoughtfully incorporating greenspace, the plaza features sound sculptures that have long been part of the public sphere at Aon Center.
“The original plaza featured beloved sound sculptures by artist Harry Bertoia, which were temporarily moved to the adjacent plazas,” said Matthew Amato, General Manager with JLL. “The art pieces have found their permanent home back in the plaza, where tenants and fans of the artist can freely sit and enjoy their whimsical sounds.”
Construction on the plaza started earlier this year and involved demolishing the current plaza and redeveloping the plaza from the ground up.
“We’re proud of how the plaza turned out,” said Scott Kurinsky of BEAR Construction. “In redeveloping the Aon Center plaza, we had to figure out how to remove thousands of tons of granite before we could start reconstructing it. We got around this challenge by cutting a hole to Lower Randolph to remove the granite from the bottom instead of the top. Once we managed to navigate that challenge, we could begin building the gorgeous plaza you see in front of you now.”
The Aon Center Plaza will be open to the public and tenants of the building following an opening ceremony the morning of September 23rd, 2021.