Facility Tours

See what it takes to manage, maintain, transform and protect unique spaces. From the largest LEED Platinum building in the U.S. (originally owned and developed by Sears Roebuck), to a 90-year-old aquarium that has added modern improvements to support sustainability and resilience, facility tours give you an exclusive inside look at systems, programs, sustainable/energy-efficient features and state-of-the-art upgrades.

Held Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 1 to 4 p.m., each tour is only US$49 per person and within walking distance of McCormick Place. Please check in on Tuesday by 12:45 p.m. near registration. Tours will depart promptly at 1 p.m. Please wear closed-toe, flat shoes.

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Willis Tower

Willis Tower

Tuesday, Sept. 29 (tour time: 1 – 4 p.m.)

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Willis Tower is an urban destination and state-of-the art workplace that welcomes prominent businesses ranging from law firms to airlines to insurance companies. Standing 1,450 feet and 110 stories tall, Willis Tower has the region’s most breathtaking views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Its Skydeck attracts more than 1.7 million visitors each year with its inviting hospitality and memorable experiences.

In early 2017, Blackstone and EQ Office announced plans for the biggest restorative transformation project in the building’s 46-year history. The US$500 million renovation project now underway includes the addition of more than 300,000 square-feet of curated dining and entertainment, as well as a 30,000 square-foot outdoor deck and garden renovation also includes 150,000 square feet of new tenant amenity spaces. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Willis Tower LEED Platinum certification for its energy, sustainability and comfort improvements It’s now the largest building in the U.S. to earn the prestigious Platinum designation under LEED’s latest v4.1 rating system.

Willis Tower was recently named one of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s 50 Most Influential Tall Buildings of the Last 50 Years and to the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects Illinois’ 200 Great Places list.

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Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium

Tuesday, Sept. 29 (tour time: 1 – 4 p.m.)

The John G. Shedd Aquarium, a non-profit institution dedicated to public education and conservation, houses nearly 32,500 aquatic animals representing some 3,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, plants and mammals from around the world. Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium has maintained its architectural history but has added modern improvements – like solar panels and building automation systems – that support sustainability and resilience.

Since its opening in 1930, the Aquarium’s mission has been to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the aquatic world. With an annual attendance of 2 million guests, Shedd Aquarium is committed to conservation and research projects designed to preserve threatened or endangered aquatic species.

The Aquarium is one building but consists of 2 major components: the original Aquarium as noted and the Oceanarium completed in 1991 in which nearly 3 million gallons of water are utilized as habitats for marine mammals. Tour participants will be able to experience both areas upon their visit.