Geofoam Rave at the Aon Center

If you like to spend your hot summer lunch breaks sitting by the fountain in front of the Aon Center noshing a turkey club from the Au Bon Pain in the pedway, it’s time to find another place for your lunch munch.

July, 2021 photograph of Aon Center plaza construction.  (Courtesy of Loop Spy Mike.)
July, 2021 photograph of Aon Center plaza construction. (Courtesy of Loop Spy Mike.)

Loop Spy Mike sent in these pictures showing the current state of the 83-story skyscraper’s sunken plaza.  It’s a mess.  But just as you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, you can’t build a new plaza without breaking out the geofoam.  Or something like that.

Geofoam is those big white blocks of fluff that you see in the pictures.  It’s used to make mounds out of molehills by taking the place of tons of heavy dirt.  Unlike your hair on a humid Chicago morning, geofoam can be tamed and sculpted into whatever shape is required.  It’s then capped with dirt, trees, grass, garbage cans, homeless guys, guitar-strumming north shore teen-agers, and whatever else is required to simulate a natural urban environment.

December, 2020 rendering of the Aon Center's south plaza (Courtesy of the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)
December, 2020 rendering of the Aon Center’s south plaza (Courtesy of the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

When complete, there will be a direct walkway from Upper East Randolph Street, down a flight of steps and across the plaza to the building entrance.  The north and south ends of the HGA-designed plaza will have seating beneath miniature groves of trees, and the Randolph hill will be festooned with wildflowers, because wildflowers dig being festooned.

July, 2021 photograph of Aon Center plaza construction. (Courtesy of Loop Spy Mike.)
July, 2021 photograph of Aon Center plaza construction. (Courtesy of Loop Spy Mike.)

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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