At 1454 feet, Chicago's Sears (Willis) Tower was the tallest building in the
western hemisphere for over 40 years. The structure has a "bundled tube"
design in which many of its structural components are prefabricated. The cross
section at its base is essentially a 3 x 3 array of squares, each 75 feet on a
side. The vertical tubes of the design stop at different heights, creating
setbacks at the higher floors. For example, the first 50 floors use all nine
bundles, but floors 66-90 consist of five bundles in a cross pattern. Sears
Tower architects intentionally chose this design to offer building tenants a
variety of floor plans. The boxlike construction capabilities of the K'nex
sets made them an ideal choice for creating a Sears Tower model; in our case,
blue rods were used for the 75-foot sides of the bundles, and 19 K'nex stories
represent the 110 floors of the original. An interesting feature of the tower,
not immediately obvious until we built a model of it, is that all floors except
the ones at the very top have exactly the same surface (window) area. This
building was one of the first large-scale creations we ever made from K'nex,
once we'd collected enough parts from a Big Ball Factory set. The model stands
just under 6 feet tall, and is made from nearly 1400 K'nex pieces. Its
construction includes an internal two-cab elevator (representing the two
express elevators in the actual tower).
For a scale model of the Sears Tower made out of
Soma pieces, click
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