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Chicago architecture club

Mine the Gap - Late Entry

The Chicago Architectural Club ran a competition last year to elicit ideas about what to do with the ill-fated Chicago Spire project.  Our entry was never really considered for submission, but has been worked on and off since.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the Spire was to be the self-described "most significant residential development in the world". (go to the website to view the over-the-top video and especially the musical track).  It ran afoul of bad economic times and the Anglo Irish bank put a halt to the whole thing after only the gigantic 70' deep, 70' diameter foundation had been excavated alongside Lake Michigan on the eastern most edge of the city.  (in an amazingly myopic moment, Calatrava described his twisting design as an imaginary smoke signal coming from a campfire near the Chicago River lit by indigenous Native Americans.  An incredibly insulting and tone-deaf explanation that negates a couple hundred years of excellent Chicago architecture and is a lame attempt to justify a twisting, spiraling design that Calatrava has experimented with all over the globe.  As if genocide wasn't bad enough, lay off the native Americans already, don't implicate them in this placeless monstrosity.)

I can't help but see the hole as a grave dug by the recession to bury developer's hubris.  In light of that, our competition entry envisioned a slightly dystopic future for the site as an enormous time-keeper, with a Foucault pendulum slowly swinging away marking the passage of days until the whole reinforced foundation inevitably floods from below from seeping Lake Michigan.

Not a pretty building to cap an ugly incident in the city's history of over-reaching development.  Maybe we could have just filled up the hole with the demolished remains of the Cabrini Green housing project.