Magellan’s Aqua at Lakeshore East Captures International Skyscraper Design Award

Skyscrapers that show outstanding


By Anuradha Kher, Online News Editor

Chicago–Skyscrapers that show outstanding architectural design and functionality are awarded the Emporis Skyscraper Award every year since 2000. This year’s winner is Aqua, a mixed-use tower at Lakeshore East in Chicago.

Located at 225 N. Columbus Dr. on the west end of the 28-acre Lakeshore East community being developed by Magellan Development Group, the 82-story mixed-use tower is believed to be the tallest skyscraper ever designed by an architectural team headed by a woman. Jeanne Gang, principal of Studio/Gang Architects and Loewenberg Architects designed Aqua.

Aqua’s balconies flow around the tower like ocean waves and appear to create variously shaped towers within the tower. According to Emporis, “because it specializes in collecting a large database of buildings in all countries and keeps track of all skyscraper projects around the world, it is uniquely qualified to select the best candidates for the Emporis Award from a complete listing of eligible skyscrapers.” The company defines a skyscraper as an enclosed building divided into multiple floors with a height of at least 100 meters (300 feet). Emporis adds that a skyscraper’s quality is a key factor in how civilization is perceived. “An imposing, architecturally appealing structure that harmonizes with its surroundings reflects on mankind as a progressive upward-reaching community.”

Thirty international senior editors of Emporis, 12 of whom are from the U.S. formed the jury.

Aqua is the first Chicago and third U.S. structure to win the Emporis Skyscraper Gold Award. Other winners in chronological order from 2000 include: Sofitel New York Hotel; One Wall Center in Vancouver; Kingdom Center in Riyadh; 30 St. Mary Axe in London; Taipei 101 in Taipei; Hearst Tower in New York City; Het Strijkijzer in The Hague and Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower I Tokyo.

A village in downtown Chicago, Lakeshore East is believed to be the largest parcel of downtown land under development in a major U.S. city.

This mixed-use development in the rapidly growing New East Side incorporates all the elements of a traditional city neighborhood, a lifestyle center that includes homes, retail, recreational opportunities and community amenities such as a lush public park and a planned elementary school.