John Hancock Tower
Henry Cobb of I.M. Pei
Built 1972 - 1975
Though John Hancock Insurance is currently marketing the
sale of its headquarters building, the firm is committed to keeping its
leadership in Boston.
At 790 feet, its sixty floors are the dominant feature on Boston's skyline.
10,344 panes of glass blend with the sky and reflect impressionistic images
of the city around the John Hancock Tower. At night with its lights off,
it is a silent hole cut in the center of the sky.
If Henry Cobb worked for a firm with less stature than I.M. Pei, he might
not have had the opportunity to overcome Hancock's Herculean obstacles:
Draining, Seeping, Bursting, Twisting, and Rocking. But what emerged is
the City's most prominent and controversial building.
Pictured here you can see the reflection of the 1947 Old John Hancock
building. Its art deco pyramid is topped with a weather beacon which
uses different colored lights to announce approaching
weather (a good role for the building of an insurer).
The unity and consistency of the building creates the design challenge
of how to provide and announce its entrance. After a number of variations
of awnings, the company recently planted trees which block the near constant
wind associated with the building, while reducing the prominence of the