Taking the classroom to new heights: Engineering students experience Chicago skyscraper under construction

Notre Dame undergraduates in a construction management course and graduate students from the professional Master of Engineering program donned hard hats to explore the latest addition to Chicago’s skyline, the Salesforce Tower—a glass and steel, 58-story skyscraper under construction.

Students overlooking the Chicago river from the construction site

Construction managers from The Walsh Group, the general contractor for the building, provided an overview of the project’s history and timeline and explained the challenges involved with creating work and living space hundreds of feet above ground. This site presented unique logistical challenges as it borders the river and has extremely limited roadway access given the operational needs of the towers currently surrounding it.  

As part of the experience, the class rode an exterior lift to the 52nd floor where the walls were not yet in place. Standing on the concrete floor with a stiff, cold wind in their faces, the students had helicopter views of the now miniaturized city and the confluence of the Chicago River’s three branches below.

The Salesforce Tower, dedicated primarily to office space, will be the last and tallest of the three high-rises built in downtown Chicago’s Wolf Point.  The building is scheduled to open in 2023.

— Karla Cruise, College of Engineering; Photos by Wes Evard