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Old May 26th, 2007, 10:48 PM   #1521
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i Hope this will bbe great!
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:40 PM   #1522
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There are other areas of this website to discuss architecture and the taj mahal. There is a reason they tried to organize this website. You are currenty in the super tall section and the chicago spire not taj mahal.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #1523
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I've been out of this thread for a while, can anybody explain me why so much discussion of the Taj MaHal?? What does this have to do with the ChiSpire??
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Old May 27th, 2007, 12:10 AM   #1524
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Read the last 3 or 4 pages
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Old May 27th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #1525
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Hey malec - yeah I know.
They don't bother to read the thread. Too much work I guess.
They just look at the pics and then ask questions.
What are you gonna do?? sigh.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 03:50 AM   #1526
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Graham, you need therapy
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Old May 27th, 2007, 04:03 AM   #1527
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrl View Post
Graham, you need therapy
Thanks for your thoughtful contribution to the ChiSpire thread.

C,mon man.
You must have an opinion on why you think this it's a good design. Many people want to hear it. What are your thoughts on it?
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Old May 27th, 2007, 04:38 AM   #1528
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Graham,
You raise a lot of points with regard to the tower and why you view the design to be lacking. A lot of it is a matter of personal taste, but there are very good reasons for the design choices made in the construction as they relate to Calatrava's design and the architectural heritage of the city. When the context is provided, people can see how this does "fit" into the city and how it does "represent" what is good about Chicago architecture.

The base of the tower illustrates both the femininity and the engineering brilliance of the design, true to Calatrava's reputation. In Calatrava's bridges, he uses thin, arcing lines to evoke both elegance and simplicity. The beauty of the engineering is what shines through. In many cases, 90% of the structure is held at a single point through the use of highly sophisticated, super-strong titanium alloys sunk into bedrock. Okay, so how does this relate to the base? He's showing you how it is constructed with: A) a simple column and B) the points of support showing how the skin is held to the building. The transparency of the design is its brilliance.

It is strong, but delicate, and the materials used convey the message well. You brought up compressed wood. Would you really want this as a structural element on a highrise of this size? I'll take structural strength with the illusion of fragility over fragility with the illusion of strength any day. Like I said before, Calatrava uses materials like titanium, and high-performance steel. Wood, not matter how compressed and high-tech, is still wood. Temperatures in Chicago could vary 120 degrees in a single year. That's a lot of expansion and contraction. Humidity also varies greatly. That's a lot of moisture absorption and drying. I'll leave it for the materials scientists, but I wouldn't want that on a building exterior (structural or ornamental) in Chicago period.

You described the base as a beach ball covered by doilies. Fair enough, that's your opinion, but the beach ball is not esstential, those doilies are. You may find the geodesic structure unoriginal, but the idea here is transparency of form, and if it's so unoriginal, how come the structure has not widely been used in high rises?

So, how does this relate to Chicago architecture? The obvious example is arguably the best-designed highrise on the skyline to date, the Hancock. The beauty of the Hancock is its simplicity, its verticality, and the exposure of what makes the engineering possible, the X-beam. That's what base does for this building. It shows you the manner in which the twisting floor plates were contructed. The skin of the Calatrava is simple, and strikes a balance between the feminine structures for which he is known and the masculine structures for which Chicago is known. The Hancock is similarly simple, but monotone.

The CS pays subtle homage to the architectural legacy of the city while being true to itself. It's not simply duplication, it's not a knock-off, it's subtle. You cited Adrian Smith's Shanghai building as an example. Many of the buildings he has built since 2000 would not fit in Chicago or NYC. That's okay, because he understands the historical context of where the building will be, and that's most important. I like the building in Shanghai. It looks great there, but every time I think of it in NYC's skyline and to a lesser extent in Chicago, I get a case of acid reflux and puke in my mouth.

It's too obviously a stylized PoMo representation of the art deco scrapers of the 1920s and 1930s. Shanghai doesn't have the original version in stock, but we do. The same goes for Burj. It too obviously evokes the stacked box structure of the Sears. This is the same reason why I'm pretty cool to the Trump building. It's okay. It doesn't dominate the skyline, but if it were 400 feet taller, it would look completely like a Sears knock off. Smith designed this one too, and he's using blue glass just like Calatrava. If you're going to slam the color scheme of the CS, then why does Smith get a free pass? Chicago isn't just full of tall black and grey buildings anymore. Either will fit fine.

In the end, I guess our difference of opinion comes down to how comfortable one is with speculating on what a skyscraper can be rather than sticking to pre-conceived notions of what it should be (sturdy at the base, etc.).
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Old May 27th, 2007, 05:27 AM   #1529
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Thanks for your thoughtful insights Nat67.
I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the project and the architect.
For example I didn't know that Calatrava is known for his feminine designs.
Does Chicago want feminine designs for it's Skyscrapers? I'm not so sure it does. But I learned something there.

Also I get your point about how he showcases the engineering with transparency. I hadn't thought about it like that before.
It's like a ferrari with a glass engine compartment I guess. I dunno, seems hoaky to me. Let me sleep on it - lol.

I'd like to clear up some misconceptions that you seem to have from reading my writings....

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
You say....."You brought up compressed wood. Would you really want this as a structural element on a highrise of this size?"

No! of course not. I never said that. What I did say was " I'll describe something that he could have done with the lobby area that is ultra new..."
The lobby area. To replace the terrible triangles and glass and aluminum frames and for trim to add contrast to all the lightness. As a design material, wall covering, trim, floors even. I didn't mean as structural load bearing material! Besides it's not strong enough for that, and most of it wouldn't be seen, and that's the point - to see it.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next you say... "You cited Adrian Smith's Shanghai building as an example. Many of the buildings he has built since 2000 would not fit in Chicago or NYC. I like the building in Shanghai. It looks great there, but every time I think of it in NYC's skyline and to a lesser extent in Chicago, I get a case of acid reflux and puke in my mouth."

But you misinterpreted what I really said.
I said..."Adrian knows how to choose appropriate tasteful colors for a skyscraper. This building is a prime example of his expertise in this area."
Then I posted one of his designs as an example of those tasteful colours. The context of discussion was suitable colours for scrapers. And that Calatravas colour choices were distasteful in my opinion.
There was no suggestion that the Chinese building's overall design was good for Chicago.
I don't know how you got that!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You also say..."That the trump building is blue too."

But there is a big perceptual difference. The Trump building is a very nice medium tone cold blue with a shiny lustre on it. This is familiar and accepted on a building. It looks good too. It does not violate any sensiblities.
But the CS has a baby blue soft warm and flat lustre that reminds me of a baby blanket. I'm sure there are plenty of folks in Chicago that want feminine aura for their scrapers. But I'm quite sure there are very many more that feel it's not right for Chicago. Try San Fran maybe, or LA. Not Chicago in the heartland, where I thought conservative thinking is more prevelant. That sort of surface character on a scraper probably violates the sensibilities of the majority. That render has not had time to "get around" yet. I think there will be some objections from the general populace.

I don't know why you misunderstood three things in my posts.
Maybe I should try harder to communicate more clearly.

All in all though, you've made some very persuasive arguments.
I mean argument in a good way - lol.
I hope this sort of banter will help inspire more thoughtful discussion about this project.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 08:30 AM   #1530
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Ah sorry Graham. I've been following this thread off and on and wasn't aware there was a link to a more recent Lobby rendering.

Any way, good discussion! Not only replying to my statements but also for Nat to lend much of the background and history of the influences of the city and Calatrava in a nutshell for everyone.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 09:22 AM   #1531
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graham View Post
You also say..."That the trump building is blue too."

But there is a big perceptual difference. The Trump building is a very nice medium tone cold blue with a shiny lustre on it. This is familiar and accepted on a building. It looks good too. It does not violate any sensiblities.
But the CS has a baby blue soft warm and flat lustre that reminds me of a baby blanket. I'm sure there are plenty of folks in Chicago that want feminine aura for their scrapers. But I'm quite sure there are very many more that feel it's not right for Chicago. Try San Fran maybe, or LA. Not Chicago in the heartland, where I thought conservative thinking is more prevelant. That sort of surface character on a scraper probably violates the sensibilities of the majority. That render has not had time to "get around" yet. I think there will be some objections from the general populace.

I don't know why you misunderstood three things in my posts.
Maybe I should try harder to communicate more clearly.

All in all though, you've made some very persuasive arguments.
I mean argument in a good way - lol.
I hope this sort of banter will help inspire more thoughtful discussion about this project.
Didn't mean to misrepresent what you were saying...just trying to raise a few questions as to why you consider it bad or inappropriate.

I think the someone's distaste for the color of the cladding is fine, but I also think that the renders don't necessarily do the color justice. Part of the difficulty of getting a proper render is the angles of the cladding. The shifting floor plates create weird angles that throw the coloring off a bit when looking at a large scale render. Try this link to see what I'm talking about:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...403465&page=11


I think the important question here is what is "sensible" and why does this building violate these sensibilities while another building like, for instance, the Trump does not?

I'm not sure that it's the responsibility of a building to "fit". The evolution of the city has had the ability in the past to make certain buildings "fit" that seemed strange in their own way. Marina City certainly fits now, and in a lot of ways, the CS pays homage to these two towers.

I've only live in Chicago for 10 years, but I think the best way to convey how this will "fit" into the city is to show you a few images of the city from the early-mid 1960s at the front end of the building boom that produced Marina City, the Hancock, and Sears and Aon among others. The Midwestern sensibilities/conservatism you describe exist here, but not to the level you might imagine. Chicago isn't really midwestern or coastal, and the people are largely progressive-minded and more liberal than middle america. There will definitely be some objections, but those objections are largely in the minority. I come across a pretty broad cross section of people here, and they are almost in universal agreement that this building is good for the city.

These photographs were taken by a man named Cushman in 1963 and 1968. One of these days, I'm going to walk around the city and do some after shots to compare to his.

The Hancock violated a lot of people's sensibilities at the time. It dwarfed every building within a mile. Now it is loved.



Marina City sure didn't appeal to the sensibilities of the existing structures either:





This is the site were the CS will sit (see Smoke Stack at left). Lake Shore has been straightened, Navy Pier re-developed, and industry has been replaced by hotels and condos.




The city will continue to change and make adjustments, and I'm sure this building will contribute to those changes (for the better) over the next 30 years.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 11:04 AM   #1532
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fantastic old pictures of the skyscaper city
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Old May 27th, 2007, 12:53 PM   #1533
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Didn't one of the Marina Towers used to have a massive antenna ontop of it?
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Old May 27th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #1534
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Question
My brother-in-laws brother recently sold the grocery store on the 45th floor of big John. He contends that the building is not doing well since 911. Every time a plane flew by the store would empty. People are extremly nervous about living in the landmark. How will this sense translate to the CS?
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Old May 27th, 2007, 10:43 PM   #1535
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I think the reason why your brother-in-laws brother saw empty stores wasn't due to 9/11 fears, but because the buildings are more empty due to market economics. The same market economics don't apply to the CS due to the differences between office/residential and price points. In September of 2001, they closed the Signature Lounge/Room at the top of the Hancock for a couple of weeks immediately after 9/11. I went with my girlfriend right after they re-opened and it was a ghost town. There was a lot of talk that people and businesses would move out of the Aon, Sears, and Hancock in droves. Yet 3 months later, the Signature Lounge was packed again.

It never really happened with the Sears, because they happen to be in the western part of downtown, which is close to the commuter trains and new commercial development. It did happen at the Hancock and Aon, but for different reasons. Tenants like accounting firm Deloitte and Touche moved out of the AON because they built their own offices in the West Loop along Wacker, which is now the hot commercial zone. The Hancock is north of the river and east near the Lake, which is where the commercial/office vacancy rates have climbed. There just isn't a lot of office demand along Michigan Avenue. Another reason is that these buildings are now 30-40 years old, and they're competing with office amenities offered by brand new buildings (wireless connections, bigger conference rooms, better on floor cafes for workers, etc.). Both have received or will receive huge facelifts in to remain competive.

I'm of the opinion that the office market will recover in these areas due to the recent upswing in residential development along the Lake downtown. A lot of mid to high priced condo units are being added in both Streeterville and Lakeshore East, which are perfect for short commutes to both the Aon and Hancock.

Commercial and office vacancies aren't troubling, but what many do point to is the softening downtown residential market. Most of this market is in the $300,000 to $1 million range. Housing fundamentals are important here, but the CS isn't going after this market. It is banking that a starchitect name and an Irish developer will have the connections to pull a global/European/extremely wealthy client base into the building. If you're willing and able to pay $8 million for a condo built by Calatrava, then you're not following housing fundamentals and you have money to burn. The reason to buy is more about ego. The weak dollar helps too.

The only thing this building competes with in Chicago is the Trump, which is why Mr. Trump has been bad mouthing this project since day one. Sales have slowed at his building, partly because the pre-construction discounts are no longer available, and partly because more than a few are waiting to see how the CS develops.

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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:56 AM   #1536
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You never gave an intelligent response.

And it's approved construction starting soon.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 04:56 AM   #1537
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You never gave an intelligent response.

And it's approved construction starting soon.
I didn't?? what was the question?


And just because it's approved does not mean the banks are gonna finance it.
No financing is what halts most projects.
you didn't know that? Oh well, live and learn. or not.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 07:20 PM   #1538
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I was in Indy over the weekend for the 500, and look what I've missed here! As I headed back through Chicago I was envisioning the Spire added to the skyline, and I'm convinced it will look great. Anyway, a few thoughts:

Quote:
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1) After looking at the Taj, look at the base of the ChiSpire and tell me what you feel or think.
The Taj really has very little to do with it, but I think the Chi Spire base will be great. It's an elegant start to the twisting of the building, and it allows for some level of public engagement with the interior of a building that the vast majority of people will never have the opportunity to go inside.

While there will be public park/plaza space around the building (the design of which will complement the architecture or the spire), the building itself will be private. To place a more solid, Freedom Tower like podium in this setting would be a way to, essentially, tell those who may gather in the outdoor space that they are not welcome to the Spire. I think it would kill the space. But by creating an open, elegant base, Calatrava has invited the public into the building in a way, and made the building a part of its surroundings instead of apart from them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graham View Post
2) What design elements of the ChiSpire do you like besides the tallness.
First, see my comments above. Also, I like the femininty of the building as a counterpoint to the more masculing Sears and Hancock. I think it defines itself as a representative of a new era in architecture, and it distinguishes itself from buildings of other eras. I see all of this as good. I find it to be light, elegant, and soaring. I don't see it as in any way detracting from other buildings, but rather adding to Chicago's collection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graham View Post
The materials look cheap and the colours are femenine.
A more femenine building is not inheranty good or bad. As others have said, that is Calatrava's tendancy, so if he's going to be the architect, then that's what you're going to get. Works for me.

Beyond that, are you party to some insider information? How can you know the materials are cheap? I mean, there's cheap metal and glass and there's high-quality metal and glass. Have you ANY information on which you can base the claim that the materails selected are cheap? I mean, if you don't like the forms, fine, you can tell that from renderings. But unless you're prepared to say that ALL metal and glass buildings are of cheap materials, then you can't possible know whether or not those use in this building will be cheap.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:13 PM   #1539
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why is this attention wh0re, graham, allowed to spam the chicago spire thread? why aren't the moderators doing their job? if you do not want to devote your time to keeping threads on topic, then get somebody else to do it like me.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:42 PM   #1540
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I've got to say, if you give Graham a reasonable argument, he just seems to come back with his own line of reasoning. I find it all to be quite interesting. In the absence of much else going on with the Spire, why not discuss it. He's not being rude to anyone if they aren't to him, and I don't see that this is titled the "I love the Chicago Spire" thread, so what's the harm?
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