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John Hancock Tower

Skyscraper Pictures: The John Hancock Tower

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Many Boston residents worried that the modernist John Hancock Tower would be out of place in the 19th century Copley Square neighborhood.
The John Hancock Tower, Boston

The John Hancock Tower, Boston

Photo © vivalapenler/iStockPhoto.com
John Hancock Tower
Location: Copley Square, Boston, MA, USA
Architect: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Lead Designer: Henry N. Cobb
Year: 1972-1976
Height: 241 meters / 790 feet
Stories: 60

About the John Hancock Tower:

The John Hancock Tower, or The Hancock, is a 60-story modernist skyscraper set in Boston's Copley Square. Many Boston residents complained that the skyscraper was too flamboyant, too abstract, and just too high-tech for the neighborhood. They worried that the Hancock Tower would overshadow nearby nineteenth-century masonry Trinity Church and Boston Public Library.

However, after the John Hancock Tower was completed, it was widely praised as one of the most beautiful parts of the Boston skyline. In 1977, Henry N. Cobb, lead designer and a founding partner in I.M. Pei's firm, accepted an AIA National Honor Award for the John Hancock Tower.

Famed as the tallest building in New England, the 790-foot-tall (241 meter) John Hancock Tower is perhaps even more famous for another reason. Because the technology for a building covered with this kind of all-glass façade had not yet been perfected, windows began falling by the dozens before construction was complete. Once this major design flaw was analyzed and fixed, each of the more than 10,000 panes of glass had to be replaced. Now the Tower's smooth curtain of glass reflects nearby buildings with little or no distortion. I. M. Pei later used the corrected technique when he built the Louvre Pyramid.

The observation deck on the 60th floor, originally opened to the public in response to community feedback, was permanently closed for security reasons after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

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