Aqua Tower Chicago: Why This One-of-a-Kind Skyscraper is Famous

Aqua Tower Chicago stands out in the skyline because it has concrete slabs resembling waves. Those “waves” give residents beautiful views of the city and Lake Michigan and make it one of the most famous buildings in Chicago.

Aqua is only the 12th-tallest skyscraper in Chicago, but it’s one of the most unique. It’s also a great location for locals and visitors. It’s within walking distance of many parks, attractions, restaurants, and shops. 

The Bare Essentials: Aqua Tower

Aqua Tower Chicago

Aqua is 859 feet tall with 82 stories. The part that stands out the most is its wave-like balconies, which are of varying sizes on each floor. It has 1,990,635 square feet of floor space.

The Aqua tower was completed in 2009, and designed by Jeanne Gang from Studio Gang Architects. At the time, Aqua Building Chicago was the world’s tallest skyscraper designed by a woman, but St Regis Chicago has since surpassed it. Gang also designed St Regis.

Aqua Tower is a mixed-use building, but it’s primarily used for residential units. It has 55,000 square feet of office and retail space, 215 hotel rooms, 476 rental units, and 263 condos, including penthouses. It was the first downtown Chicago building to have condos, apartments, and a hotel together.

The tower has an 82,550-square-foot terrace with pools, hot tubs, gardens, gazebos, fire pits, and a walking path. When Aqua was built, it won the Emporis Skyscraper Award for being 2009’s Skyscraper of the Year.

The “Waves”

Magellan Development Group named the tower Aqua because of the wave-like structures on the exterior. Those waves are balconies, and some are as long as 12 feet. The balconies were made using irregularly shaped concrete slabs.

The layout of the waves was inspired by topographic views of the Great Lakes. From many Aqua balconies, you can even see Lake Michigan. Each balcony is unique in its size and shape, so neighbors can socialize with the people above or below them if they wish.


Not only does Aqua’s design resemble nature, but it’s also a sustainable structure. The terrace extensions increase the amount of solar shading. The building also uses a water-efficient irrigation system, energy-efficient lighting, and lots of greenery on the roof.

Rental Units

Most of the residential spaces in the building are luxury rentals, including studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. They each have between 584 and 1,080 square feet. Those looking for more space can purchase a condo or penthouse instead.

Aqua has plenty of resident amenities, including pools, hot tubs, cabanas, grills, a running track, a fitness center, a business center, a media room, and an on-site parking garage. There are five levels of parking below ground and a bike storage room. The apartments are pet-friendly.

Hotel Space

The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel opened in 2011 after the Carlson company paid $125 million to add it to Aqua. The hotel rooms were built on floors 1 through 18, which were vacant.

The regular suites are between 350 and 400 square feet, but the deluxe suites can reach 565 to 1,723 square feet. There’s a bar and grill on-site and room service. The hotel is within walking distance of Lake Michigan and many Chicago attractions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What’s Near Aqua Tower Chicago?

Lake Michigan is only a short walk from Aqua Tower. The building is also close to Millenium Park, Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Navy Pier.

How Much are Rentals at Aqua Tower Chicago?

Aqua apartments cost between $2,053 and $4,029 per month. You can check the website for current prices and availability.

How Much Are Hotel Rooms at Aqua Chicago?

Hotel rooms at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel range from $260 to $1,200 per night, depending on the suite you choose. Check the website to see current rates and availability.

When is the Aqua Rental Office Open?

The residential office is open from 9 am to 6 pm on Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5pm on Saturday, and 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday.