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Calatrava's Chicago Spire (Chicago)

Latest Continued

These are again officially sanctioned releases to Newcity Skyline. This fills in the missing detail on the 3D models from earlier posts:

"I'm back ..."​
"Now You See Me"​
Now You Don't"​


Latest Continued - Bathroom Options

Below are selective bathroom models. The picture on the top left is from the Shelbourne website; the pictures on the top right and bottom centre are from the officially sanctioned Newcity Skyline:


Latest Continued - Dining Room / Kitchen / Living Room Composite

These two photographs, on Newcity Skyline, are of three areas: Dining Room, Kitchen, and Living Room.


Latest Out of Chicago - Bedroom Options

We start with a conventional bedroom option with minimalist dressing (jstush04 on SSP):


Then we minimalize the bedroom into something called a "Bedroom Cocoon" (Newcity Skyline):


Redefining price of luxury living
Spire's $40 million penthose may break new ground in city real estate

By Susan Diesenhouse
Chicago Tribune staff reporter

September 27, 2007

The Chicago Spire developer has distinguished the tower he is building by its height, 2,000 feet, and by the cost, at least $1.5 billion to complete what will be the world's tallest residential high-rise.

But Wednesday, Garrett Kelleher, chief executive of Shelbourne Development Ltd., left real estate circles here agog with the news that unit prices would reach as much as $40 million, or about $4,000 a square foot, for the two-floor penthouse.

"We've never seen anything like this in Chicago," said James M. Kinney, president of Rubloff Residential Real Estate. "There are people who are holding property that's worth a lot, but nothing at that price has traded here."

"[The developer] must be looking for someone with a large ego and large wallet who wants to say, 'I live in the highest condo in the world,'" added Kinney.

Most of the 1,193 units in the 150-story Spire will be priced from about $750,000 to $10 million, Kelleher said in an interview last week.

But the 10,293-square-foot penthouse "will be on the highest condo floors in the world, with 360-degree views, in a signature building designed by Santiago Calatrava with its own private elevator from the base to their floor," Shelbourne spokeswoman Kim Metcalf explained Wednesday. "Whoever buys that will have a completely unique home." ...
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Very impressive! A beautiful exterior, exceptional interiors, the design possibilities of fractal geometry replacing euclidian geometry - it appears like a real twenty-first century building.
Now a word from the Christopher Hume of Chicago - Blair Kamin


Some Spire occupants may take dim view of 'total design'
By Blair Kamin
Chicago Tribune Architecture critic
September 30, 2007

Everybody knows the stories about Frank Lloyd Wright. His tall-backed dining chairs were both gorgeous to behold and supremely uncomfortable. Staying at a client's house, he would sneak down at night and rearrange the furniture to his liking. Occasionally, he designed dresses so the garments worn by the lady of the house wouldn't clash with his all-encompassing aesthetic.

Wright believed in the notion of "total design," an all-encompassing approach in which the architect fused everything from structure to doorknobs into a single, seamless whole. ...

In Wright's case, at least, it could be beautiful. And it could be tyrannical. And it could be both at the same time.

I found it hard not to think of "total design" last Wednesday when architect Santiago Calatrava unveiled his plans for the super-expensive apartments in the supertall Chicago Spire, which will, if completed, be the nation's tallest building and the world's tallest all-residential building.

Typically, architects design the shell of a residential tower and leave interiors to others. But here was Calatrava, showing off two full-scale apartment mock-ups that he had laid out ...

Was this deja vu all over again — a return to the good (and bad) old days of "total design"?

Yes and no.

The idea of 'home'

Calatrava is far too savvy to attempt to foist his tastes on potential buyers. Besides, as he seems to recognize, the world doesn't work that way anymore. It's too messy, too pluralistic for design dictators. He leaves a large margin for flexibility in furnishing these units, which might be as welcome to someone with a collection of Victorian furniture as to a collector of Rothkos and Lichtensteins.

But a hard look at that "signature" one-bedroom model leaves me to wonder if the skyscraper is going to be packed with narrow, pie-shaped condos that waste space and offer relatively meager views. The condos certainly won't come cheap. Prices in this building will start at $750,000 for some studios and head up to a staggering $40 million for a duplex penthouse.

The happy side of the story is that Calatrava realizes the Spire is not just a skyscraper, but a residential skyscraper, a place to live rather than a place to work.


I have a sharply different take about how the two units seen Wednesday meld form and function.

A thumbs up to the four-bedroom — it shows the concave contours of the tower's scalloped exterior won't eat up lots of usable floor space. The unit also reveals how Calatrava makes a virtue of the skyscraper's corkscrewing exterior members. He uses them to frame a parallelogram-shaped window that looks as if it came out of a yacht. The interplay of structure and void recalls the way the John Hancock Center's X-braces create odd, but beloved, window patterns in that building.

Quirkiness is better than uniformity.

Problematic layout

The one-bedroom "signature" unit, on the other hand, gave me pause, and not just because it's hard to believe that tower residents will want to shut themselves into its little glass cocoon — away from the lake and skyline views for which they spent so dearly.


We'll see how the flagging high end of the real estate market responds Jan. 14 when the Spire's sales center opens to the public. Surely the sales center will be a great draw for architects and design buffs who want to see a Calatrava-designed living space. But whether people actually will want to live there — and pay a premium for the privilege — remains to be seen.

The best in "total design" affords its users ample living spaces, not just furnishing flexibility.

(© 2007, Chicago Tribune)

For the entire article ...CLICK HERE
Posted by blogger spyguy999:

The possible City View from the penthouse of Chicago Spire, with the Lake View - part of the remaining 180 degrees - taken for granted.


(© 2007 WNY / spyguy999)

(This City View, of course, converts the 3D experience into a 2D panoramic photograph - hence, the shoreline is distorted into looking almost like a view of lower Manhattan.)
They look like subtle changes from afar ...

This is a rearrangement of the same renderings posted by SSP blogger, ChiDJboy, from copyrighted renderings on the official website of Chicago Spire:

Approved Chicago Spire Rendering (left) versus Revisions to Approved, posted during Construction Phase


Approved Base View of Chicago Spire Rendering (left) versus Revisions to Approved, posted during Construction Phase

A Tale of Two Architecture Critics in regard to Fordham/Chicago Spire

On the other hand, Calatrava still isn't as well known as any number of other "starchitects" one could name, including Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Norman Foster and several other Pritzker Prize laureates -- whose ranks the Spaniard probably will join one day.

-- K. Nance

There are at least two Architecture critics found in Chicago newspapers, corresponding to the two major dailies (I’ll suppress the long list of other Architecture critics that publish in various newspapers other than these, found in-and-around a city known for its avid interest in modern architecture). Those critics are Blair Kamin at Chicago Tribune, and Kevin Nance at Chicago Sun-Times. Recently, Nance has been renamed “Critic-at-large.†This year alone, I have counted three name changes in Nance’s title at the Sun-Times - none representing promotions.

As a measure of how “embedded†these particular Architecture critics have been in building developments, I’ve seen one or both of them in rigidly enforced private meetings that were suppose to be closed to the public; yet one or both of them were usually there, without any other media types â€on the sneakâ€. To complete the observation, when publishing their individual columns, none of the detail of those private meetings were leaked. It was almost as if they were never there.

Chicago Spire, however, evolved into a special case. Chicago Sun-Times began to slowly turn into what appeared to many to be a surrogate to Donald Trump’s tirades against the Fordham/Chicago Spire as it has come closer to being a reality. The most prominent naysayer was not an Architecture critic at all, he was the Sun-Times Real Estate columnist, David Roeder, who oftentimes got personal like Trump. Nance, trying to maintain his independence, occasionally was drawn into this game, but not predictably so. The latest developer, sensing that the Sun-Times was now a threat, made certain that his building would rely more-and-more on the Chicago Tribune to break news on the Chicago Spire, and subsequently the Tribune got the lion’s share of the private information and even the interviews with Calatrava himself.

Despite the fact that Nance has wavered between endorsing and questioning the project, he now gets no special treatment at all going forward. Ironically, Kamin still gets more information out on Trump Chicago, due to both his association with the more powerful Tribune, but also because of who he is: a Pulitzer Prize winning Architecture critic, considered to be fair-minded, and guaranteed to be read or quoted in not just Chicago, but other markets as well.

Just as a dabble into Nance's style, I will leave you with his most recent article on the Chicago Spire. Although otherwise a fan of Calatrava, note the interesting way that Nance expresses his ambivalence to this project.

- Zephyr

Yup, worth a read.

Nance wonders aloud about what I've been asking myself quietly: can they possibly sell enough of these apartments to make this building a go?

I wonder if in 2011 or 2012 we'll find this building tapering to a point a few floors shy of the 150 they are planning...