Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Design for Santiago Calatrava's 2,000 foot high Chicago residential tower unveiled

Blair Kamin and Thomas Corfman in the Chicago Tribune, Kevin Nance in Chicago Sun-Times and Alexi Barrionuevo in the New York Times both reported this morning on the unveiling of a design by architect Santiago Calatrava for a proposed 115-story, 2,000 foot high residential tower to built along the Chicago river just off of Lake Michigan. Additional commentary can also be found on today's archidose. The tower, rising from a stepped plateau base like a braided, tapering stick of white licorice, would be called the Fordham Spire, named after the development company of the same name.

Christopher T. Carley, may be seeking to move beyond the often mediocre quality of design found in the recent upper-end projects put up by the Fordham Company. of which he is president. These include the Fordham, the Pinnacle, and the 65 E. Goethe, all of which had a propensity for backward-looking styling, complete with mansard roofs.

The project, with a price tag of at least a half a billion dollars and, given the experience of the massive cost overruns at Calatrava's soaring Milwaukee Art Museum, perhaps a good deal more, may be a tough sell in a market already saturated with ultra luxury housing. Trump Tower Chicago, already rising along the river, across the street from Mies van der Rohe's iconic IBM tower, on the site of the former Chicago Sun-Times Building , has 472 "super-luxury" condos, as well 286 condo hotel rooms. The same mixed used concept is being proposed for the Fordham Spire, but it would have only 200 condo hotel rooms and no more than 250 condo's, and contain less than a million square feet, versus Trump's 2,600,000.

Farley has experienced slow sales and problems with lenders in some of his recent projects, but if the Calatrava tower is built, it will mark a major step in the revival of Chicago's skyline, plagued over the last decade with a succession of numbingly ugly 40, 50 and 60 story condo towers.

Note: links to the Chicago Tribune and New York Times stories will expire into their respective archives after seven days.


Jake F said...

I think you too blithely dismiss all the condo towers built in the last few years as eyesores. Granted, many of them are very disappointing. But not all. 65 East Goethe was of course not innovative, but it was well done and it fit into the Gold Coast.

The towers in Central Station aren't bad at all.

Other towers already in construction are much more likely to "rescue" Chicago from the architectural doldrums. This would include Trump as well as 340 on the Park, an excellent design in my judgment. One Museum Park appears to be another excellent design that will be serve as a striking beacon on the south lakefront.

"The Calatrava", meanwhile, is inaptly named, given that its current design is not representative of his excellent work. I was rather disappointed in seeing it. The Malmo tower appears much, much more elegant.

And Chicago has enough buildings that wow you purely by their size. Rather than something so huge, I wish Carley and Calatrava aimed for something much smaller scale and more elegant. Such a design would have the additional benefit of being more likely to actually get built.

Anonymous said...

ok, this is one of the most elegant of towers built around the world in a few years.

it has the same proportioning as 7 south dearborn did, but a grace as it swirls skyward.

to say that central stations towers have been anything remotely elegant would be like calling the chicago bears and the exterior of their stadium "inspiring".

I don't think the site can handle to traffic, and kamin mad e a good comment that the building seems to defy the overall slope of the skyline towards the lake.

I'd actually like to see this same tower built at wolf point. Close to an el station, still on the water, in an area that seems to just be dying for an exclamation point.

If it were possible to have it built there, the view north on the southern branch of the chicago river would be spectacular.

Plus, less hypocritic streeterville owners to potentially oppose the building of another residential tower, such as the ones they all reside in.

I love the tower, and it would sadden me if I returned from architecture school in six years and didn't see something similar, if not as tall, designed by calatrava gracing our skyline.

Roberto Iza Valdés said...
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Roberto Iza Valdés said...
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