Sears Tower
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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 here.

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