The Ledge

On a recent trip to the Windy City, aka Chicago, Ill., USA, I had the opportunity to visit the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and its Sky Deck Ledge on the 103rd floor. I grew up with a fear of heights, so this seemed like a really bad idea. Naturally, I ignored my conscience and did it anyway.

For those of you who may not know what the Sky Deck Ledge is, here is a quick run-down:
There are several glass boxes that extend 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) from Willis Tower – currently the 10th tallest building in the world. Each box is comprised of three layers of half-inch (1.27 cm) thick glass laminated into one seamless unit. The low-iron, clear glass is fully tempered for durability. International structural glass design experts Halcrow Yolles fully designed and detailed all the glass and steel components.
Each Ledge is built to withstand four tons of pressure and can hold 10,000 pounds!

Never before have I been concerned with how thick a glass structure was… until this moment:

The cliche "Don't look down" was completely irrelevant.

The cliche “Don’t look down” is completely irrelevant when you’re standing inside a glass box. On the side of a building. 1,353 feet (412 meters) in the air.

The views are absolutely stunning – even on a foggy day!

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I must, of course, mention the speedy elevators!
Willis Tower elevators operate as fast as 1,600 feet (488 meters) per minute – among the fastest in the world.
The ride on these Schindler modernized elevators was amazingly smooth. And did I mention they were fast?

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If you ever have a chance and are able to put aside any fears you may have, I highly recommend visiting the Sky Deck and easing onto the Ledge.

Thanks for reading,

– Caleb

 

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