subscribe
free e-newsletter free e-newsletter
product info
advertise
FAQ
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
for premium web access
comment

Calatrava’s Chicago Spire Wins Approval

April 20, 2007

By Erin de Losier

The Chicago Planning Commission unanimously approved the fourth, and perhaps final, iteration of Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire yesterday afternoon. Designed for a 2.2-acre lakefront site—although its footprint will occupy barely half that amount—the seven-sided glass tower tapers and twists to point 2,000 feet above a public plaza below, making it the tallest building in North America. The 3-million-square-foot structure will contain 1,200 condominiums and aims for LEED Gold certification.

Images courtesy Shelbourne Development

Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

Calatrava, in his love of nature themes, has likened his slender spire to a wisp of smoke, a tree trunk, and a snail shell. A spire of light shines upward from the point and illuminates the night sky, extending the proportions even further. Each of its 150 floors rotates two degrees from the orientation of the floor below it, decreasing in width as the tower ascends. This spiraling form helps dissipate heavy wind downdrafts common in Chicago and other cities with tall buildings. The entire structure perches on seven, W-shaped columns that guard a 56-foot-tall glass atrium like a prized crystalline egg.

Remarkable as the building is, the process of gaining public, governmental, and financial support proved difficult. Garrett Kelleher, founder of Shelbourne Development, purchased the site last summer for $64 million after Fordham Enterprises, the tower’s original developer, failed to secure financing. To produce a program that was more financially feasible, Shelbourne requested a series of design revisions that tripled the number of condos but fattened and flattened the tower’s form—prompting the city and neighborhood groups to reject this design in December 2006.

The current scheme reflects Calatrava’s effort to return to the original program of a delicately tapered form while maintaining a profitable number of residences. Kelleher is providing the initial funding without the help of financiers or pre-sales—leading many observers in Chicago to wonder if he’ll be able to finish the project, whose price tag could soar to $2 billion. A Shelbourne spokesperson says that Kelleher is confident that construction will begin immediately and finish in 2010.

 

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----
McGraw-Hill Construction

Search Sweets

Example: Building Products, CAD, BIM, Catalogs
Search
Reader Feedback
Most Commented Most Recommended
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days