January 5, 2021 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

As its 50th-anniversary approaches, the iconic American skyscraper, Willis Tower, is undergoing a massive transformation at its base. This milestone project adds approximately 300,000 square feet of new dining, retail, entertainment, and a roof-top park within a new three-story podium around the building. In this presentation, Eric Wheeler and Lynda Leigh will describe the project requirements and discuss the engineering and construction challenges to create this new experience. Structural solutions included a network of transfer beams and columns to relate the new podium grid to existing plaza column grid, various reinforcing techniques to strengthen the existing columns and beams, modifications to the existing tower structure. Construction challenges included performing work and maintaining services in a building occupied by approximately 20,000 people daily, addressing temporary conditions that resulted in structural instability, and working around existing conditions.

This is a virtual event on Zoom. Please register before 11:59pm on 12/31/20 to ensure you receive access to the presentation.


Members - $25
Non-Members - $50

1 hour of CE credit will be given

About the Speakers 

Eric Wheeler, S.E., Thornton Tomasetti

Eric Wheeler is a Senior Associate within Thornton Tomasetti’s Renewal Practice. He has over 14 years of experience in adaptive reuse, structural rehabilitation, and new building construction. His most notable projects include the Macy’s State Street Renovation project and the Saieh Hall for Economics at the University of Chicago.



Lynda Leigh, S.E., R.A., Turner Construction

Lynda Leigh is a Project Executive with Turner Construction. She brings a unique perspective to her construction management role, drawing upon her design experience as both a licensed architect and structural engineer. Her focus is complex projects. Her other projects include the Modern Wing & the Nichols Bridgeway at AIC and the Logan Center at U of C.


Participant List coming soon!