the chicago spire
this afternoon the city of chicago planning commission gave a green-light to the proposed 150-story, 2,0000 ft. spiraling skyscrapper that will rest just south of navy pier at the mouth of the chicago river on an untouched 2.2 acre parcel of land. the santiago calatrava designed chicago spire, as it is known, is but a few small approvals away from breaking ground as early as this spring (it will take nearly 4 years to complete construction). the project will go before the zoning committee this coming thursday and then the full city council in early may (with mayor daley backing the project these final approvals seem to be forgone conclusions).
of the issues approved by the planning commission two of the most interesting to me were the increase of dwelling units to a staggering 1,350 and an increase in the floor area ratio (f.a.r.) to a whopping 32. the remaining issues of concern with the project do not revolve around it’s height, f.a.r., or density but rather with the slighted dusable park that sits next door. the city has had plans since the mid-80s to reclaim this unused land immediately next door to the tourist haven of navy pier, but until now those plans have gone unrealized. developer garrett kelleher from dublin, ireland has promised to kick-in $6,000,000 of the necessary $12,000,000 required to complete the neighboring park.
i, like many chicagoans, are excited to see this project become reality. i’m anxious to see the shimmering and delicate twisting organic nature of mr. calatrava’s spire in dialogue with bruce graham and fazlur kahn’s stoic black, blue-collar, structural behemoths in the hancock and the sears towers. formally, i love how the spire creates a wonderful arc across the city’s skyline from north to south.