An skyscraper idea for Chicago is proposed by the global architecture office Gensler. The skyscraper idea for Chicago is for a plot where a another tower by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was slated to rise.
- Jump right to the “old proposal” – the Chicago Spire
- The Spire was inspired by nature
- What will happen next at the site of the Chicago Spire
“How do you succeed with a $50 million dollar failure?” Gensler asked when work stop on the Chicago skyscraper “Spire”. Gensler refers to the money spent on the old high rising building.
The construction of the Spire began in the year 2007 and stopped at the following year. 2008 was when the global financial crisis hit. Spire was going to be an apartment tower. Still today, a 34 foot diameter hole remains at the building site. It is as an example of the lack of demand in chicago.
The office of Gensler propose now a new supertall skyscraper for the site. The name is Gateway Tower. The building can house a mixed scheme. Containing Rental apartments, two hotels and also tourist attractions for the tower. The intention is to have a mixed program to attract and retain investors.
“Projected demand in the Chicago market is for a more diverse program, as well as a wide and inclusive range of experiences and commercial opportunities,” said Gensler. “Diverse revenue streams hedge against market cycles and unexpected macro-economic demand shock.”
The proposed skyscraper is reaching the same height as the previous building. It will reach 610 meter. Instead of the twisting shape the new conceptual tower is following another design. A large and also supporting brace which is splaying outwards from the lower portion of the building and towards to lake Michigan.
Another skyscraper idea for Chicago
Gensler designed a thin and also rectilinear tower bending slightly as it growing from the ground. The exterior of the skyscraper is going to be glass with X-bracing. Similar to the design of the John Hancock center also calling Chicago home.
The draft intend to connect to the city, to the lakefront and also to the Chicago Riverwalk. The return to the city will be tourism and also more visits. With more than 50 million people are visiting Chicago. According to Gensler, they are generating 13.7 billion dollar in direct spending.
“Our solution was to create an anti-tower, one that was not designed purely as an object to look at but rather one that is engaging at different scales to the entire city, one that would welcome newcomers as it simultaneously embraces locals,” Gensler principal Brian Vitale told Curbed about the skyscraper idea for Chicago
Gensler propose features amenities like a water taxi service, a skydeck and also two entries. The Skydeck offer a “unparalleled views and premium experiences including a restaurant and sky garden”. Also the building include a funicular transporting visitors from the ground floor to the mid level.
The old Tower: The Chicago Spire
As described it was planned to build another supertall skysrcaper on this building plot at 499 N Lake Shore Drive. The so called Chicago Spire was another skyscraper idea for Chicago and failed financially after beginning construction. It would be the highest building in Chicago. Its originally proposed name was Fordham Spire. The Design proposal from the year 2005 had 116 stories. It was planned to have an exclusive hotel and “normal” apartments in the super tall skyscraper. It would be topped by the usual broadcast antenna. Santiago Calatrava, the architect designed the spiraling building while the developer Christopher T. Carley of the Fordham Company was going to head of the ambitious project. In March 2006 the design was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission and was going into the next stage. But, on the 4 th of November 2014 a court ruling put a stop on the plannings and building work. The developer signed over the building plot to the biggest lender of the project:Related Midwest. They announced that they will not finish and not build the planned Chicago Spire.
Inspired by nature
Architects get their inspiration by themes and designs in nature. Also in this case Calatrava was inspired by nature to design the super tall and also twisting skyscraper. The structure is lend of an imaginary smoke spiral which is coming from a campfire near the river and lit by the native Americans.
With a height of 610 meter the Chicago spire would have been another addition to the always growing Skyline of the city of Chicago. The plans included 1193 apartments and each of the floors rotated 2.4 degrees to complete a total 360 degree rotation at the top. In the year 2008 the prices of the apartments were announced and ranged between 750,000 dollar to up to 40 million dollar. Additionally to the big list of amenities the Chicago spire would have had a community room on the top floor. It was only for residents (and their guests) and would have had offering a 360 degree view of Chicago and the 4 U.S. States. The Chicago Spire has been described by the public and also the media as a “drill bit” or a “tall twisting tree” and also a “blade of grass”. The spectacular curved and twisted design offered two big benefits compared to “normal” and straight” buildings. The curve tends to add a lot of strength to the structure. The spectacular curved and twisted design offered two big benefits compared to “normal” and straight” buildings. The curve tends to add a lot of strength to the structure. The curved face would also minimize the wind force. Normally at usual buildings the wind flow will put pressure on the windward face of the structure. The air moves around it and is creating a suction on the leeward face of the building. Next to all luxury for the residents the Chicago spire was designed to include features like recycling and collecting rain water, while river water should have been used for cooling.
The future of the Chicago Spire site
In the year 2016 it was reported that the plot owner Related Midwest had hired Michael Pfeffer (the former SOM architect) to plan and guide the new developments on the former Chicago Spire site. No project plans are revealed yet. At the moment it is not clear what Related Midwest is planning to do whether it is a yet another super tall skyscraper replacement or other structures.
all photos are property of the architects and property developer