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Sunday, July 31, 2005

2,000-foot Chicago Lakefront Skyscraper Hotel and Condominium


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Blair Kamin's article in today's Chicago Tribune is really worth a glance. Click the link below to read the whole story which I have given you a brief excerpt of. The Trib also has a number of other related stories whether the building would pay for itself, whether anyone would want to live there, reactions from the Mayor, a poll and more drawings of this proposed Hotel Condo development which is unique in that for a building this tall it would not include offices. Given that it would include a hotel, it would likely includes some stores and restaurants however.

Scaling aesthetic heights
Skyscraper adapts to our world in a stunning new way

By Blair Kamin
Tribune architecture critic
Published July 31, 2005

Let's set aside, for a second, the hardheaded question of whether Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava's twisting 2,000-foot Chicago tower will ever get built. In a way, it doesn't matter. Last Wednesday's unveiling of the dazzling, but still-evolving 115-story hotel and condo tower marked a major milestone in an ongoing revolution: The skyscraper and the tall office building no longer are synonymous.

For more than a century, they were.

When the great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan articulated the famous principle "form ever follows function" in 1896, he was writing an influential essay, "The tall office building artistically considered." It aimed to impart grace upon a then-new and cantankerous building type, the skyscraper, which was blocking views, darkening streets and making buckets of money for ruthless capitalists.

"This sterile pile, this crude, harsh, brutal agglomeration," Sullivan called it.

More recently, all the holders of the world's tallest building title have been office buildings, from the Empire State Building to Sears Tower to the latest to wear the crown, the pagoda-inspired Taipei 101 in Taiwan. To think about building tall, in other words, has been to think about tall office buildings. And it was to assume that downtowns would be places of work -- noisy, dirty, perhaps industrial -- and that people would live outside them in quieter city neighborhoods or leafy suburbs.

But as Calatrava's design reveals, life and cities have changed and the skyscraper is free to adapt to those changes in stunning new ways. Though far from faultless, it is one of the freshest and most captivating skyscraper designs Chicago has seen in decades, fully taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the fact that it would be a place to live rather than work.

Click here for the rest of Kamin's excellent story:

2,000-foot Chicago skyscraper

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