Filling a Hole Wrought by Foreclosure

John Hill
28. January 2015
Photo: Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons

Five local architecture firms have responded to Chicago magazine's challenge to design something – anything – for the site of Santiago Calatrava's failed Chicago Spire, what would have been the city's tallest building.

Although last year saw some small hope that Irish developer Garrett Kelleher, who foreclosed on the site in 2010, would build the 2,000-foot-tall tower, his attempt in bankruptcy court failed and he handed over the deed to Related Companies. The highly visible plot of land next the Lake Shore Drive and Lake Shore Drive is destined, in Related's words, for "an architecturally significant and thoughtful development befitting this premier location."

It remains to be seen if that development will respond to the 104-foot (32-meter) diameter hole that has marked the site since 2008, but seven years of living with the pit have given Chicagoans plenty of time to imagine alternatives. So it's great to see the scenarios envisioned by five Chicago architects, even if they have slimmer chances of being realized than the Spire ever did.

Visit Chicago magazine for more information on each proposal.

UrbanLab: "Swimming Hole"
Hoerr Schaudt: "Birds in Horto"
SPACE Architects + Planners: "Underground Amphitheater"
VOA: "Urban Island"
SCB: "Chicago Beacon"

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