Lake Point Tower
Wi nd Tunne l Study
WJE was retained to construct a scale model of Lake Point Tower to study the effects of wind on this Chicago lakefront high-rise. The model was built
and instrumented in theWJE laboratory and then tested in the wind tunnel at Purdue University. Test results were used to finalize the structural design
for the building.
The study of the interaction of wind and tall buildings was an emerging science in the late 1960s. At that time, wind tunnels, which had been
originally developed to study aircraft design, were only infrequently used for measuring wind pressures on buildings. The study for Lake Point
Tower was one of the earliest and most prominent examples of the many wind tunnel models that WJE produced and tested in the 1960s and
1970s. When completed in 1968, the seventy-story Lake Point Tower was the tallest all-residential building and the tallest reinforced concrete
building in the world.
Notes of Interest
• The design for Lake Point Tower was partially derived
from a 1921 sketch by Mies van der Rohe.
• The actual design was produced more than forty years
later by John Heinrich and George Schipporeit, who were
both students of Mies van der Rohe.
• The original design concept consisted of a building
with four wings, but it was eventually replaced by a design
that included only three wings separated by 120 degree
angles. This design allowed for greater unobstructed views
of Lake Michigan. The unique geometry also offered less
surface area exposed to direct wind loads in comparison
with a conventional rectangular design.
WJE 50 Years