What Is The Purpose Of The Willis Tower?

Welcome to an exploration of the iconic Willis Tower, also known as the Sears Tower. This legendary skyscraper in Chicago has a rich history and serves multiple purposes within the bustling city. From offices to observation decks, this architectural marvel has become a symbol of innovation and progress. Join us as we uncover the many roles that the Willis Tower plays in shaping the skyline of Chicago and the lives of its inhabitants.

What Is The Purpose Of The Willis Tower?

Have you ever wondered what the purpose of the Willis Tower in Chicago is? This iconic skyscraper has a rich history and serves several important functions that contribute to the city’s skyline and overall economy. Let’s dive in and explore the various purposes of this architectural marvel.

History of the Willis Tower

Let’s start by delving into the history of the Willis Tower. Built in 1973, the Willis Tower was originally known as the Sears Tower and held the title of the tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years. It was designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and has become a symbol of Chicago’s architectural prowess.

The tower was constructed as the headquarters for the retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Company, hence its original name. Over the years, it has transitioned into a multi-purpose building housing various businesses, organizations, and attractions.

Commercial Office Space

One of the primary purposes of the Willis Tower is to provide commercial office space for businesses in Chicago. The tower boasts over 4.5 million square feet of office space, making it one of the largest commercial buildings in the United States.

Many prominent companies and businesses choose to have their offices in the Willis Tower due to its prestigious address, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient location in the heart of downtown Chicago. The tower serves as a hub for business and commerce, attracting a diverse range of industries.

Skydeck Chicago

Another major attraction of the Willis Tower is the Skydeck Chicago, located on the 103rd floor. The Skydeck offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and Lake Michigan, providing visitors with a unique vantage point to admire Chicago’s skyline.

Visitors can experience the thrill of stepping out onto the glass-floored Ledge, which extends 4.3 feet from the building, allowing for unobstructed views from 1,353 feet above ground. The Skydeck Chicago is a popular tourist destination, drawing millions of visitors each year who come to soak in the beauty of Chicago from above.

Communication Tower

In addition to providing office space and a tourist attraction, the Willis Tower also functions as a communication tower. The tower houses antennas and transmitters for various radio and television stations, as well as telecommunication companies.

Its strategic location and height make it an ideal spot for broadcasting signals across the region, ensuring clear and reliable communication for residents and businesses in the Chicago area. The Willis Tower plays a crucial role in maintaining connectivity and communication infrastructure in the city.

Sustainable Practices

The Willis Tower is committed to sustainability and energy efficiency, implementing various green initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. The tower has earned LEED Gold certification for existing buildings, recognizing its efforts to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.

From energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems to waste reduction and recycling programs, the Willis Tower is dedicated to minimizing its carbon footprint and promoting a greener future. By adopting sustainable practices, the tower sets an example for other buildings and contributes to a more eco-friendly urban landscape.

Cultural Significance

Beyond its practical functions, the Willis Tower holds cultural significance as an iconic landmark in Chicago. The tower has appeared in numerous films, TV shows, and photographs, becoming synonymous with the city’s identity.

Its distinctive design and towering presence make it a recognizable symbol of Chicago and a source of pride for residents. The Willis Tower represents the city’s architectural innovation, resilience, and ambition, embodying the spirit of Chicago in physical form.

Economic Impact

The Willis Tower has a significant economic impact on Chicago and the surrounding area. As a hub for businesses and commerce, the tower creates jobs, drives economic activity, and contributes to the city’s tax base.

The businesses and organizations housed within the tower generate revenue, attract investment, and stimulate growth in the local economy. Additionally, the Skydeck Chicago and other visitor attractions within the tower bring tourism dollars to the city, further bolstering its economic prosperity.


In conclusion, the Willis Tower serves multiple purposes that contribute to Chicago’s skyline, economy, and cultural landscape. From providing office space for businesses to offering a bird’s-eye view of the city, the tower plays a vital role in shaping the identity and vitality of Chicago.

Whether you’re marveling at the views from the Skydeck, conducting business in one of the offices, or simply admiring its architectural beauty, the Willis Tower continues to captivate and inspire visitors from around the world. Next time you’re in Chicago, don’t forget to look up and appreciate the towering presence of this iconic skyscraper.