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Mister C / July 27, 2005 12:21 AM

Wow, fresh powder! As it were.

I've only seen the pictures flashed on a television screen, so I haven't been able to get a really good look at it, but my thoughts are thus: I've always dug Calatrava, and the building seems cool in and of itself, but it really screws up the dynamics of the entire skyline. It's so totally incongruous with everything else in the downtown, and it bisects the whole skyline in a really weird way. Plus it's right down there on the lakefront like some gaudily dressed a-hole trying to weasel his way to the front of the beer line. I'm usually the one who defends the wacky new buildings, but this particular one leaves me cold.

From a practical standpoint: Who the hell's going to fill it up? We've got that beautiful Bofill sitting almost empty on Dearborn, and condos springing up everywhere you look. This crazy building boom is gonna crash eventually, and by the time this monster is (theoretically) completed, who knows what will be going on.

One thing though: I really hate the objections that it would be "a target for terrorists." Screw that p*ssy sh*t. That's just anti-Chicago in every sense of the word. If your gonna build the tallest building go ahead and do it, just make sure it fits in the whole look of the city. Don't let some wack-*ss cowardice be what stops you.

Erica / July 27, 2005 12:30 AM

I like [eye] candy.
I like [eye] candy.

Tall buildings are all about the extension, admit it. So what, though. I want Chicago to kick everyone's ass. If we need big skyscrapers to achieve this, I say Hills Yis.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/26/AR2005072600747.html

chris / July 27, 2005 2:03 AM

I like the idea of the worlds tallest building here in Chicago, but that building is just stupid-looking. Plus, why screw around with the lake front? Build something squarish, or something masculine. Something away from the lake front.

This building that they are thinking of looks fruity. I mean the tall slender building / tower thing works for Toronto, but the CN Tower is their main focal point. Chicago already has it's main focal point, the Sears Tower. They should build something masculine.

mikez / July 27, 2005 2:57 AM


The idea behind all these new tall and 1-2 supertall Downtown buildings is what Daley has been planning for years---re-centralize the American city and people who start businesses and pay taxes will follow.

--it's good for Chicago and who ever said skylines were constant. They are moody and spectacular, designed to respond to the times.


mikez / July 27, 2005 2:57 AM


The idea behind all these new tall and 1-2 supertall Downtown buildings is what Daley has been planning for years---re-centralize the American city and people who start businesses and pay taxes will follow.

--it's good for Chicago and who ever said skylines were constant. They are moody and spectacular, designed to respond to the times.


Michael / July 27, 2005 8:27 AM

I'm just happy to see the revival of bold and daring architechture make its way back to the city of Chicago (whether you love it or hate it, the new Soldier Field is an example of this, as well as Millenium Park). Now if only we could tear down all those eyesores of bland, beige trailer park high rise condos which that asshole has erected all over River North...

Sarah / July 27, 2005 8:51 AM

I think it's silly looking.

Nate Melby / July 27, 2005 8:53 AM

i don't give a rats ass

steven / July 27, 2005 9:01 AM

It doesn't mesh with the rest of the skyline at all.

John / July 27, 2005 9:11 AM

I agree that terrorist concerns should be minimal when it comes to something like this. For one thing, there are about 100,000 softer and easier targets around Chicago alone if thats what somebody really wanted to do. For another, not building something because we are afraid really does play into the terrorists goals of disrupting our way of life. The battle in ideology should take place in other places first before it ever reaches the shores of Lake Michigan.

Onto the building itself. I am immediatly struck by its gracefullness and it soars into the sky. I really like the slender loo to this to counter and balance the massive cubical, monolithic structures which compose mostof the current skyline. The fact that whereever the sun is in the sky, it will always be reflecting off this building (because of the curves) means that this building will shimmer and become a beacon for the city - which is appropriate for tis tallest building.

The initial design represents a continuation of this city's archtectural renaissance which stumbled out of the gates with Soldier Field, but quickly rebounded with Millenium Park, and continues with the Art Institute's new addition and to a lesser extent the Trump Tower. This is a great development from an architectural view, and bold designs should be encouraged whenever its appropriate. This city made it's architecturalname becasue we evolved with and invented new technologies and forms of architechture. This building continues that proud tradition. I don't even know what it means when people talk about buildings being masculine or feminine - that are in the end what only they inspire and what we project onto them. But this building lives up to all the best that Chicago, the city of architecture, stands for.

The location seems wrong for this building. Sure the renderings of the redefined skline look great (even when you notice that Trump's project doesn't appear in any of them but I just can't shake the feeling that the proximity to the lake is just too much. Sure , they are already going to build a condo high rise at 600 N. LSD a few blocks north and nobody complains about that. And Lake Point Tower sits literally all alone and nobody complains about that either. Perhaps The prominence along the lake will be something to admire 10 years down the road. I would like to see this building surrounded by a grouping of smaller bold buildings (perhaps 10 - 20 stories tall, or maybe even taller) forming sort of a sleeker, more modern answer to the Sears Tower's bundle of cores. Finding a location for this would be more difficult. In the end the location may be satisfactory but it will be hard to embrace at the beginning.

All in all I am excited. I have no idea if this will ever be built - where are another 500 people with $5 million sitting around. But justthe bold thought alone is evnough to get excited about. I hope that they build this.


ivy / July 27, 2005 9:13 AM

I thought that Calatrava mostly built bridges and social buildings. The two works I've seen in person are the Milwaukee Art Museum and BCE Place Galleria in Toronto. Both are fantastic, and part of their respective communities.

I'm against this new project because of its proposed use -- condo/hotel -- not its size.

Chicago needs more community-use buildings with indoor public spaces, not more isolated, luxury living.

tony / July 27, 2005 10:08 AM

I think it befits a city already world-reknowned for its architecture. I'd love to see the finished product.

I'm tending to reserve comment on how it would impact the skyline. In the long run I think it will make a wonderful addition. When the Towers were first going up, no one was fond of it at all, and at first glance it stuck up like a sore thumb from the rest of the Manhattan skyline, but people got over it. Should the spire ever get constructed, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

pang / July 27, 2005 10:16 AM

I like Calatrava. I like how he integrates structural engineering into architecture and creates memorable forms.

I don't think the current tower as it looks right now will be built. Design is always refined. Compare the first pass at Trump Tower with the current incarnation, for example.

Does it belong next to the lakefront? The jury in my mind is out on that one. No, it doesn't look like anything else in Chicago right now, but hell, why WOULDN'T we want a Calatrava? Why shouldn't Chicago continue to be the home of really cool signature architecture?

Oh yeah. I do like the building -- though I'm not in love with it-- but what the heck is that blocky podium thing it's sitting on? That ruins it for me.

Brandy / July 27, 2005 10:17 AM

Who?

eep / July 27, 2005 10:20 AM

I like it. Chicago has always had the most amazing skyline of any city, and I'm all for adding more to it. When Trump's new building goes in, it will add more to the city, and this might be a good bookend to the Sears Tower. (Besides, this won't be the tallest building—some new building going up in the UAE will have that title.)

JP / July 27, 2005 10:22 AM

I guess this reveals much more about me than anything else but it looks like a fancy dildo from G boutique. Typical male infatuation with all things phallic. We need more coochie inspired architecture. Am I right ladies. Someting we could all get into.

Ben / July 27, 2005 10:23 AM

I think it looks crescent fresh.

And Trump's a chump - he's just upset someone else is getting attention.

But this building looks nice and would be a worthy addition to our skyline!

John / July 27, 2005 10:33 AM

Chicago is the birthplace of skyscrapers so why not add another one to the list. Sure it's far from the loop, but the parking lots around there will eventually turn into more high rises. As much as the city grows upwards, it will also grow outwards. The loop has already expanded, so why not take advantage of that area as well. It may look awkward for a while, but the area will come around.

I like the design too. It's new and interesting. Of course it could turn out to be a complete bust too. In response to an earlier post about wanting a square behemouth in the loop, I've always felt that square buildings look best clad in stone, not steel and glass. There are a few new buildings going up in the loop that I can't stand the sight of. And I still cringe when I walk by the Daley Center. Of course everything looks better in the architectural drawings, and getting these things to sell is going to be a big obstacle.

So I guess I give the project a thumbs up at the moment. I want to see how this progresses.

Jeigh / July 27, 2005 10:49 AM

I think "The Don" is all jealous because somebody might strip his erection of it's "most tawdry falice in Chi-Town" distinction. I actually like the screw shape, but it would be better in black steel and glass, that way it won't resemble a schlocky chandelier purchased from Menards! HAH! It looks like the horn of a unicorn! Hah!

Chicagoans, first you should realize that you ALREADY ARE one of the best cities in the world for architecture (if not THE best). Everyone already knows that, so relax already. If we want more attention for our buildings, we should focus our efforts on ACTUALLY becoming the "greenest city" in the U.S... More solar and wind power please. Let's get some grass on those rooftops! It'll create more jobs for landscapers.

Craig / July 27, 2005 11:02 AM

It's provocative and bold-- let's start building. It's nice to see a Chicago skyscraper that isn't a big hulking mass; we have enough of those. I'm glad it doesn't "mesh" with the current skyline-- a monotonous skyline is the anithesis of urban diversity. 'Mikez' comment is right on: "re-centralize the American city and people who start businesses and pay taxes will follow". Building upwards-- not outwards-- is key.

kevin / July 27, 2005 11:31 AM

I whole-heartedly agree with Mister C.It looks absolutely ridiculous in what is now a beautiful skyline. It somehow reminds me of the know-it-all teacher's pet in the front row raising their hand high because they are just so damn smart. You just want to walk up, slap 'em on the back of the head, and say "Put your hand down already."

It may not even be as bad if it was tucked away somewhere, partially hidden by lower-rise buildings (but I guess that would kill the dramatic effect of the spiral design). The lakeshore is just a bad place for it. Put it in Gary to distract people from the utter despair as they drive through.

As far as Trump goes, he's just acting like a sore loser, because his new building would quickly fall to the background (literally and figuratively) if this thing was built.

Brandy / July 27, 2005 11:46 AM

(Now that I've edumacated myself...)
I think its going to make people who are afraid of needles pass out when the see it.

MikeH / July 27, 2005 12:12 PM

Ummm...what's up with the Washingto Post article implying that the Sears Tower inherited the distinction of the nation's tallest building after 9/11? The Sears Tower already had that distinction, even before the Twin Towers were toppled...dumbasses!!

waleeta / July 27, 2005 12:12 PM

It's beautiful, phallic, and huge, just the way I like my Chicago buildings....

marbles / July 27, 2005 12:21 PM

i think the design is gorgeous and actually quite inspiring -- it definitely would make for a great addition, and interesting springboard, to the city's skyline. however, i agree that we must start to think about the use of our grand architecture. the tribune piece touched on this, as have a few posters. i continue to hope that someday such bold design will take into consideration a more ideal use. that's really the beauty of some of calvatera's other projects -- their practicallity (bridges) or in their proper housing of treasured ideas (milwaukee's art museum). so, until monied folks start thinking of ways to invite regular people to participate in the architecture -- rather than simply marvel at it -- i say we should remain focused on greening the city, harrassing officials into improving transportation for all and maybe investing in our city's many wonderful neighborhoods.

Matt / July 27, 2005 12:35 PM

I think it is great that it will surpass the height of "Freedom Tower" in New York by a ton. Last thing we need is arrogant New Yorkers/East Coasters bragging about having the tallest building in America. Just like when the WTC went up, we quickly toppled New York with the Sears Tower. As Freedom Tower goes up, Fordham Spire will topple New York again. Ain't it great! Suck it New York!

Matt / July 27, 2005 1:00 PM

I think I am a Chicagoan bitching about New York for no discernible reason. Jeesh.

akm / July 27, 2005 1:27 PM

I like the design - however I had the (dis)honor of working with the Fordham Company on a couple of their other developments.

I'm afraid that they are going to celebrate material and design and then balk at the cost and find a way to blame the contractor/development manager/architect/any subcontractor for the price.

I hope that innovative design returns to the Chicago skyline but I am not confident that this company will do it right. They only want the glory and really are not very good at doing the work right.

Carrie / July 27, 2005 3:01 PM

Above, John mentioned that the curved sides of the tower will catch the sun throughout the day and turn it into a beacon. And yet, many people are questioning its position right on the lakefront. Why shouldn't a beacon-like building be right next to the lakeshore? Maybe this is the native Michigander in me talking (who's seen many, many lighthouses), but such a graceful, flashing building deserves to be (at least initially) standing alone by the lakeshore, not wading amidst several clunky mid-rises in the loop!

misty / July 27, 2005 3:09 PM

Hmmm, not exciting to me. I still like the idea of a high-rise landfill over in that "neighborhood", as proposed for Laurie Palmer's "3 acres on the Lake" project.

leelah / July 27, 2005 4:25 PM

It looks elegant and pretty... even the blocky bottom/base doesn't bother me.

scott / July 27, 2005 5:33 PM

Whatever the decisions made by those with the deep pockets, I think Chicago has a responsibility to honor its venerated skyline and architectural history by taking very seriously the addition of new and controversial designs. Change for the sake of change is what leads to regret and urban indifference (See Shanghi for an example of this).

If nothing else, Calatrava's design is a refreshing and compelling start point for discussion of the Chicago renaissance.


Huckle Cat / July 27, 2005 6:09 PM

I like Craig's point that we have enough "big hulking mass" skyscrapers. And I look at all the grey-tan concrete condo buildings around Michigan Avenue and it makes me sick. So, while I didn't fall immediately in love with the design, I think down the road we'll be thankful for the diversity.

jgs / July 27, 2005 6:14 PM

I think the building is lovely. If it reminds people of fancy dildos, then I think it's more than masculine enough. What does it say about a person who thinks that only stout, tightly clustered upright structures are masculine. That's just homo-genous-erotic and wierd. But as for yannic architecture, we have that too... what does the smurfit-stone building's diamond shaped roof with a slit down the middle remind you of?

But bourgeois as it may be, I am just happy to have something pretty to look at and imbue me with civic pride that such marvelous things are possible in a city like chicago.

jk1 / July 27, 2005 8:07 PM

Really, like Blair Kamens, I only don't like the current mock-up of the buildings base. It really does look like the pedestal of a statue. I'd also like to know exactly what sort of materials will be used in the facade.

Those small reservations aside, I wish construction could start tomorrow. It's a beautiful concept design, elegant and refined. It would be a spectacular recovery from the recent architectural disasters erected especially in River North. As someone else noted, this structure would always appear different as reflection and shadow play off of it's surface.

The concerns about security are much ado about nothing. Sure it could be a target, but if this is never built, a terrorist determined to strike at Chicago will just aim their fury at Sears or Hancock.

For those concerned about it's prominence along the lakefront, I think it makes a fine counterpoint to van der Rohe's Lakepoint Tower, which is also curvy and structured, yet much heavier than this would be.

It would also be joined by several other high rise towers in the coming years. As the Tribune pointed out earlier in the week, only one or two of the current designs is better than mediocre, so this will pull attention from those lackluster efforts to something far more awe-inspiring. At the same time though, they will provide the context for this building by filling in the immediate background.

It would upset the current dynamic of the skyline, but so what? The skyline is a living thing that will always evolve...

Based on information I've dug up, I don't know how good the chances are of this Fordham Group actually getting financing, but I hope that if they can't do it, the design can be built here by someone else.

By the way, this design seems to be a refinement of another of Calatrava's projects, the Turning Torso in Sweden.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turning_Torso

Mister C / July 27, 2005 8:09 PM

A fancy word for the shape you're talking about, jgs & JP, is "vulviform" (I've been wanting to use that word in a sentence for years, thank you both!) and another example of it is the new 71 S. Wacker building (the Hyatt Center). In addition to more vulviform buildings, we are in desperate need of more vulva-having architects. I was pleased to find, on a recent tour of the IIT Campus, that the number of women enrolling in architecture school is finally starting to climb. Now all we need is for more (any?) female architects to get hired to do major commissions.

miss mann / July 27, 2005 11:06 PM

It looks like a drill bit...but I likes it.

Trump's tower is all lumpy and destroyed my favorite summertime lunch spot in the city (that little secret pocket of a park behind the Wrigley...sigh)and dwarfs the the lovely Wrigley so I like the notion of Trumpdum's impact on the skyline being overshadowed by that spire's curvy, pretty shininess.

MC High Life / July 28, 2005 8:35 AM

When the Towers were first going up, no one was fond of it at all, and at first glance it stuck up like a sore thumb from the rest of the Manhattan skyline, but people got over it.

Exactly. So many new projects get poo-pooed by the masses because "it doesn't fit with the existing skyline". The same arguments were made when the Hancock, Stone Container and Marina City towers started construction here in Chicago. Those buildings are now viewed as essential to the Chicago skyline and people today couldn't imagine the skyline without them. The same thing will happen with this building. I mean, it isn't like the proposal is on par with the Presidential Towers or the Apparel Center.

As far as sales are concerned, a regular poster at the skyscrapercity.com message board indicated that he had visited the sales center for the proposed tower. It is more of an info center since sales have not begun. Anyway, he said the woman at the center told him she had already received calls from Tokyo, Spain, Mexico, London, Switzerland, New York and Los Angeles asking about the tower. Some of those people wanted to put money down NOW, even though the tower isn't approved! This will be a "world" tower where wealthy individuals all over the globe will purchase a unit as an additional home.

TJL / July 28, 2005 9:44 AM

Trump is a tool.

It looks cool, build it.

mark / July 28, 2005 11:04 AM

Its a contrived symbol of male egotism, chauvinism, and projected masculinity.

just kidding.

I think its beautiful, small footprint, light design. We should hace a Calatrava in chicago, so I'm all for it.


Norm / July 28, 2005 11:10 AM

As an architecture fan, I say break ground on this building today. It's a groundbreaking design. I figured there'd be more support for that sort of risk-taking on a site like this.

It's an absolutely stunning, halting design. I share the reservations about the blocky bottom of it, but face it, that's not what most people will see from afar.

I'd rather have that on our skyline than another 55-story beige box.

BTW, did anyone else find irony in the complaints of the neighbors to the site, some of whom live in buildings *less than two years old* who told the other residents of the area to go lump it when it was *their* condo tower being built and blocking out others' views of the lake?

Jhatee / July 29, 2005 11:52 AM

Well done! Futuristic, artistic, unique flare. I really like it. Another piece of jewel added to the already immaculately beautiful Chicago skyline. Although I am concerned about security regarding "any" threats to the city, I believe we must go on and live life. To me, the plans for the proposed "Fordham Spire" are fitting to the revitalization of everything from hometown pride to say the lest, to Chicago's unique image on the world-wide scale of view, aestically and economically. It's a bold outlook not only for the 21st century, but years to come. Two big ups.

Attrill / July 29, 2005 6:07 PM

The glamour shots of how it would look from a boat on the lake or from Museum campus don't give a good idea of how it will really fit into the city. During the week I tried to imagine what it would look like from different parts of the city - standing on the El platform in the morning, from Grant and Millenium parks, walking around downtown, and even from the parking lot at Sam's. It will be great, and it's narrowness will strengthen the Sears Tower and the Hancock.

Wally / August 1, 2005 6:34 PM

Hate it, hate it, hate it!!! I don't think it meshes well with the rest of the skyline at all...please keep it out.

Great Chicago mike / August 24, 2005 3:35 PM

Are you people serious,lets be honest,as chicagoans we luv are city because of the take no shit mentality,bring it on additude,and the size of our buildings,the way the skycrapers look down upon you when you're at the beach or lakefront with your girl,wife,kids,mistress whatever,and here comes another one,you complaine about how the SPIRE does not fit the city,well I think YOU don't fit the city,donald trump is building a tower basicly the same color but no one complains(sissy's),the fact of the matter is there's about 75 proposed new high rise's and skyscraper's for the city my friend,so if your not ready for change to the city's skyline entering the 21st century that will put chicago back on top,then its easy,LEAVE.

David / September 1, 2005 10:47 PM

I totally agree with Great Chicago Mike. Anyone who seems to be against Chicago updating itself should move back to the burbs. Start with Ald. Burt Natarus, he's trying to suburbanize Chicago.

Justin / September 28, 2005 3:36 PM

All of this talk about how the spire would "fit in" with the skyline is silly. Do you think the Sears Tower fit in with the skyline when it was built? Do you have any idea what the skyline evan looked like in '74? You think a bundle of nine towers southwest of the loop "meshed"? What fits in is boring and invisible and uninspiring. this is simply amazing and this building belong in no other American city if it doesn't belong in Chicago.

I can understand the neighborhood concern a bit, but we're only talking about 250 condos, folks. Where they're gonna find 250 people with a million bucks is beyond me, but that is a mystery that's baffled me for years. If you build it, they will come.

My only concern, and this is for selfish reasons, is the traffic problem it will cause on the Drive as rubberneckers slow down to look up in the sky at this twisted silver masterpiece. Maybe they should put a bodyshop at the bottom of the building to fix all the fender benders it will cause!

Craig Fordham / January 4, 2006 12:52 AM

Can someone tell me how this came to be called Fordham Spire? Is the developer a Fordham?

Chris / January 20, 2006 5:36 PM

Its excellent to see this happening in Chicago. Architecture in Chicago has been mediocre to terrible at least for the past 15 years. Its time for people to embrace the future, and this is change in the right direction for Chicago and America. Its time for us to play catch up with Asia and Europe.

Peter / February 1, 2006 6:08 PM

i really think this thing will get off the ground. after the building gets the ok by the city, they will start the sale of the condos. they are reported to have hundreds of offers already. cant wait 2009

Kendra / April 30, 2006 3:33 PM

This building will be the highlight of the Chicago skyline, we need many more like it. The elegant yet abstract design will bring more contrast to the city's overwhelming dark, square buildings.

Bradley / May 24, 2006 1:38 PM

I don't like the futuristic design of the building it does not fit with the city. The Trump Tower is a much better design. It has a much better mix of modern style and classic Chicago archetecture.

This building is trying too hard to be the building of the future. Slapping this buildilng right on the lakefront is clearly an archetual way of saying, "HEY LOOK AT ME, I'M ALL MODERN" Art is supposed to be subtle.

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