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The Hancock Building is an old, abandoned building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago with a cable connected to the top that the Dauntless use as a zip wire


The building was constructed with a structural expression style and is one of the more well known buildings to be built with the model. The 'X' pattern running up the side of the building serves two purposes, to support the building during periods of high wind and earthquakes, and provide an open floor plan, eliminating interior columns and pillars which would clutter up the space.

There is a plaza in front of the building with a waterfall that is lit up for various seasons. Inside the lobby, the designers clad the space in travertine, black granite, and limestone.

Total height of the building is 1,499 feet (457 meters), and high speed elevators with a top speed of 1800 feet/minute travel to the observation deck. It is presumed the Dauntless use the traditional elevators to the top floor and access the roof.


History to Present Day[]

The building was planned in late 1964 and ground was broken in 1965. It took four years to complete the building, though tenants began moving in prior to the completion date. Two television stations serving Chicago broadcast from the building, WGBO-DT in analog, and WYCC-TV in digital only. All other stations use the Willis Tower (Former Sears Tower) as a broadcast location.

Between Present Day and Divergent[]

History of the building between modern day and the beginning of Divergent is lacking with little history of the city and nation given. It is presumed that the building was either fought through or attacked during the Purity Wars and the uprising by the Factionless. The building is not used by any of the factions, and seems to have been abandoned with a large portion of the city, except for artistic expressions by the Dauntless (graffiti), and for the use of a zip line installed sometime prior to Divergent taking place.

It is likely the building was abandoned during the Purity Wars due to the scale of the conflict, and was abandoned afterwards either due to damage, the resources needed to run a building that size, or simply location, as the books seem to imply buildings north of the Chicago River were abandoned by the Factions, either due to the damage from the uprising, limitations put in place by the Bureau, or other unknown factors.


Tris Prior zip-wires off of it with Shauna, LynnUriah Pedrad, and Ezekiel Pedrad. It is mentioned that graffiti is spray painted on the interior walls, and the building is abandoned, as it is north of the river, which divides the city. No other information is given, though the skyscraper plays a critical role in the advancement of Tris' character.


During Tris and Tobias Eaton's stay in the Candor's Merciless Mart , Tris decided to come with Lynn, Uriah, and the other Dauntless to spy to the Erudite headquarters. Tobias declines to participate, claiming he was busy with other tasks, but Tris presumes it is due to his fear of heights. They have a brief tiff as Tobias warns her to not be stupid and she takes some offense to this. The air is cleared between them as he amends his statement, though there is still tension between the two over previous events in the story.

Ultimately, the plan is never executed due to the revelation that Jack Kang plans to negotiate with the Erudite, endangering the Divergent and Dauntless among the Candor population. Instead of spying on the headquarters, the plotters, including Tobias, head out to spy on the meeting between Jack and the representative from Erudite.


The Allegiant, when launching their revolt against Evelyn, use the Hancock Building as temporary shelter. Later, when Four and the others return to the city in order to inoculate some of the population and warn Evelyn of the impending disaster, they discover that most of the Dauntless have holed up near the building, though he does not return to it during the story.

In the epilogue, two and a half years after Tris' death, Four zip lines off it despite his fear of heights because it was something Tris would have wanted him to do. He scatters Tris' ashes as he does.

Zeke, Shauna, Christina, Amar and George Wu live in the higher levels of the Hancock Building in the epilogue. The building seems to have been refurbished and used as apartments as the city is being repopulated. Graffiti painted by Dauntless in the lobby of the building was not cleaned up to leave some of the history.