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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the John Hancock Center’s (now 875 North Michigan) completion, designers who conceived of and worked on the project will give first-hand accounts of Chicago’s 1960s tall buildings boom.

$20 public (includes CAC admission)
$15 CAC and CTBUH members
Gand Lecture Hall, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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This special edition of the Building Tall lecture series convenes senior statesmen who led the charge during the city’s skyscraper renaissance five decades ago. This program is hosted in partnership with the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the Chicago chapter of CTBUH and the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings.

View video archive from this program (run time: 81 mins)

Program Speaker: Joseph P. Colaco

Joseph P. Colaco

Joseph P. Colaco is the President of CBM Engineers, Inc, where he has led the engineering for many large building and infrastructure projects. This includes work on Two Prudential Plaza in Chicago, Peer Review and Value Engineering services for the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the world’s tallest building), and dozens of other projects across the country. Previously, Colaco worked as Director of Design and Computer Operations at Houston-based Ellisor Engineers and as Senior Structural Engineer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) where he was a key member of the engineering team for 875 N. Michigan Ave. (John Hancock Center) and 500 N. Michigan Ave.

Program Speaker: David Ruby

David Ruby

David Ruby is the Chairman and Founding Principal of Ruby+Associates, Inc, a structural engineering firm in Bingham Farms, Michigan. His extensive experience spans almost 60 years and covers all aspects of structural steel design, fabrication and construction engineering. During his career, he has become recognized internationally as a structural steel expert and is a registered engineer in 36 states. Prior to founding Ruby+Associates, Ruby worked for the American Bridge Division of U.S. Steel, serving as structural project engineer for Chicago’s 875 N. Michigan Ave. (John Hancock Center), Willis Tower (Sears Tower) and the Aon Center (the Standard Oil Building).

Program Speaker: Richard Smits

Richard Smits

Richard Smits, Associate Partner, was an architect with SOM for nearly 45 years. As a senior coordinating architect, Smits oversaw and supplemented the work of individual project architects. He also oversaw the preparation of construction documents and the construction administration process for these buildings. Smits' experience has encompassed a range of projects, large and small, including 875 N. Michigan Ave. (John Hancock Center), Rowes Wharf in Boston, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, and 201 Bishopsgate and the Broadgate Tower in London, England.

Program Moderator: William F. Baker

William F. Baker

William F. Baker is a structural engineering partner at SOM where he has led the structural engineering practice for over 20 years. He has dedicated himself to extending the profession of structural engineering through design, research, teaching and professional activities. Baker is best known for the development of the "buttressed core" structural system for the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest man-made structure. While widely regarded for his work on supertall buildings, his expertise also extends to long-span roof structures and specialty structures such as the Broadgate Exchange House in London and the Entrance Pavilion for General Motors’ Headquarters in Detroit.

AIA/CES Credit: 2 LUs

  • Ticket price includes entrance to the Chicago Architecture Center on the day of the event. View the CAC's hours.
  • Discounted tickets are available with a valid student ID for $12 at the CAC Box Office.
  • CTBUH members are invited to call the CAC Box Office (312) 922.8687 to register for the program at the member ticket price.
Program Partners

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings

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