Note: This project did start construction, but due to the recession, it is on hold. Currently, there is an ongoing court case (bankruptcy) that is still on going. The developer continues to pursue the project. Ultimately, time will tell when this happens or if it does in the first place.
Current Status: On Hold
Credit: http://api.ning.com/ and Santiago Calatrava
Information on the dilemma and state of the project:
Though construction began in 2007, today the Chicago Spire exists in a state of limbo. Many consider it a dead project. A few believe it could still be completed. It’s more likely that this project will be resurrected in a smaller, less ambitious form. After all, the foundation has already been built, and this is one of the few remaining pieces of land along the city’s lakefront that can be developed.
The Spire was originally proposed as The Fordham Spire. It was going to be the first Windy City project for Spanish architectural superstar Santiago Calatrava. Though he has graced the shores of Lake Michigan before with the Quadricci Pavilion up the road at the Milwaukee Art Museum, having a showcase project in Chicago is a much better feather to have in one’s architectural cap.
The Spire’s position at the point where the Chicago River drains Lake Michigan would have put it in the center of the city skyline, and made it an unmissable focal point in the thousands of photographs taken by tourists each day.
In its original form, this building lived up to its name. It was truly is a spire – A svelte, tapering form topped by a needle. It was later revised, and the final design eliminated the needle piercing the sky. The entire shaft evolved into a more blunt, yet refined, form.
In a New York Times article about the building, it was compared to a drill bit, a blade of grass, and a tall twisting tree. Others have compared it to a lighthouse, a zucchini, and even an exclamation point.
The inability to quickly categorize the shape is exactly what the architecture world has come to expect from a Calatrava design. It is both geometric and organic. It takes a simple form and twists it in the wind like so many of his other bridges and buildings. In this case, quite intentionally. Though the architect held and stroked a snail shell through many of the design meetings he had in Chicago, Calatrava has stated that the intent of the twisting and rising form was to pay homage to the American Indians, by echoing the smoke from their campfires along the edge of Lake Michigan.
Each of the building’s floors were designed to be anchored to a central column. But each would also be offset from the one below. With each progressive level, the result would have been, indeed, something very much like a drill bit.
The original plan called for the bottom 20 floors to be occupied by a hotel, while the rest of the building was to be filled with 1,200 luxury condominiums. The final configuration eliminated the commercial aspect, and resulted in an entirely residential building. That was a great disappointment to those who believe Chicago needs another sky-high observation deck.
Before economic troubles finally sank this project, its biggest obstacle was zoning. The parcel of land selected was only zoned for as 540-foot-tall building and a 350-foot-tall building. The developer managed to assuage the city, neighborhood groups, and local open space activists by developing a riverfront plaza with six stories of parking underneath. The developer also promised to pony up nine million dollars to turn a disused chunk of lakefront land into DuSable Park.
Designed by: Santiago Calatrava
Maximum Height: 2,000 feet / 610 meters
Maximum Depth: 80 feet
Levels above ground: 150
Levels below ground: 7
Building caissons: 34
Parking garage caissons: 98
Parking spaces: 1,500
Foundation concrete: 200,000 cubic yards
Foundation steel: 70,000 tons