A little presumptuous, no?Originally Posted by New York Times
greenie, not too long ago there were architecture schools where architectural history wasn't taught, for fear of impeding the student's creativity by letting him in on the dirty little truth that there's hardly anything new under the sun.Originally Posted by greenie
Calatrava differs from all the other spiralists in that he'll work this thing out structurally so that it makes sense as the pure application of a simple principle. I suspect it's not just cantilever but also corbel.
In any case it will be utterly rigorous and therefore beautiful. He won't ask his structural engineers to figure out how to build the form, as Gehry has to; Calatrava is the structural engineer. And the form derives from an understanding of structure from the get-go, not the stroke of a hand.
The great structural Engineer Gustave Eiffel designed the structure of two well-known buildings: the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
In the first case, the structure was dictated by his cutting edge mastery of engineering as it was understood at the time. This enabled him to come up with a structure that weighs less than the column of air defined by its footprint and projected to its height of 300 meters. Maybe he just shepherded pure mathematics down its path of inevitability on that one. Every piece of metal in that tower is stressed and helping to hold up the building, except the little decorative curlicues that wander around the arches. Lighter than air!
If you've been inside the Statue of Liberty you know it's a rat's nest of opportunistically-placed struts, an image of complicated chaos. That's because he inherited the form from Bartholdi, the sculptor of the statue. Eiffel's structure was the servant of the pre-existent form of the sculpture; his only job was to make the structure hold the statue up economically, not to make the structure itself beautiful. The work of art is on the outside, and already done by someone else. He might have used mathematics to calculate the structure, but the form of the building itself wasn't generated by mathematical calculations.
Calatrava is more often like the Eiffel of the Tower than he is like the Eiffel of the Statue.
Last edited by ablarc; July 27th, 2005 at 08:44 PM.
A little presumptuous, no?Originally Posted by New York Times
I think all he's saying is that skyscrapers originated in Chicago (true), and have always been there since. I don't think he meant that Chicago had exclusive rights to the concept, or whatever else might have led you to think him presumptuous.Originally Posted by pianoman11686
New York's got a better collection anyway. And it's a better city.
Is anyone else reminded of the robotics company HQ in I, Robot when looking at these renderings?
Re the comparisons between Fordham Spire and 80 South Street, I still think ours is better ;-)
Well put and i dont think it looks anything like the i robot building. I think its a very original design for a building more unique than anything ive seen for a while. I dont think think it will happen though, maybe if the condo sales go through the roof but it looks like and also sounds like it will go down the same road as south dearborn and the othersOriginally Posted by ablarc
ablarc, I've always admired Calatrava's use of the structure to create a beautiful form. I understand what makes him an amazing architect. He designs buildings that have perfect harmony of structure and form.
This building just seems to lack the grace of his other projects. Mainly, I think, because the form the structure takes here is a bit too contrived.
But don't get me wrong, I think it could be a very nice building. I'd go as far as to say, I like it. I just don't think it's as good as Mr. Calatrava is capable of. Not one of his best, in my opinion.
Well said.Originally Posted by greenie
The Slatin Report
CHI 07 27 05
THE SPIRE: CHICAGO LITE?
Is it possible? Could it happen? Of course it could.
Whether it should is another story.
Chicago developer Christopher Carley of Fordham Company could find lenders willing to finance his proposed $500 million, 115-story, 2,000-foot-tall condo/hotel, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. And he could find a couple of hundred souls willing and able to pay the estimated $850 a square foot for the privilege of living in a pad (or is it a pod) designed by one of this or any century's great architects. Compared with the $2.000-a-foot-plus residential towers of New York or Hong Kong, that's a bargain-basement price for the top of the line at the top of the sky.
If any American city can call upon its history of buildings to demonstrate that it deserves a new symbol, Chicago certainly qualifies. But this project should not be mistaken for that symbol, as I fear it has been. What unifies and underlies Chicago’s great buildings is an urban scheme that embraces its realm rather than notches its belt over height and deal considerations. That notion, of a broader idea than simply a towering, needlenosed presence, is singularly lacking in the Carley proposal. But then, with an architect earning – rightfully, in my view – up to $1,500 an hour for design services (at least on some public-realm jobs – we don’t know his fees in this case), the developer may not wish to spring for more comprehensive and thoughtful solutions. To some real estate minds, a trophy property is plan enough; other ideas will simply follow.
In a national market where project financing for condo development has been easy, and in a local market – Chicago's – where it has been child's play, bringing Chicago into third place in Condo Nation after Miami and San Diego in condo construction and conversion (according to Property & Portfolio Research), the arrival of Fordham Spire was inevitable.
So why is this grand gesture such a big, bitter pill to swallow? For those of us who have long advocated that forward-looking, inventive architecture and planning form the basis for good development, that they provide enhanced value and longevity, the selection of a design genius like Calatrava for an iconic project such as Fordham Spire should represent the fulfillment of a cherished ideal. Instead, it signals that developers now believe that today's best-known architects not only sell condos, they sell financing.
Developers are beginning to wave their architects around like letters of credit to get bankers on board, or like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to tame community boards and critics. Such newfound zeal for design can and should be a good thing, and we should applaud it.
Unless it's a pyramid scheme – and this slender, twisting triangle is a physical expression of such. In June, the developer narrowly escaped foreclosure of his recently completed 50-story condo tower with a $53 million refinancing from Corus bank. Carley needed to refinance because of slow sales, something that Chicago developers are feeling all over town in this condo-besotted city. The spectacular nature of the Calatrava proposal will naturally draw attention away from Carley's other problems, including a suit by disgruntled purchasers of units in another Carley building. And once financing and fees are in place to build Fordham Spire, concerns on other projects can be resolved – until the next time.
Calatrava, an artist in architect’s gear, has nonetheless seized the opportunity to create another inspiring design, though it is certainly not as exciting as other projects he has on the drawing board. Over the course of the past 15 years, he has shown fearsome tenacity in moving his seemingly impossible projects forward. His first major project award in this country – the competition-winning design for a $25 million biosphere at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine – came to naught, but catapulted him into a higher sphere of recognition. He received scattered commissions across the country since then, but his big breakthrough came earlier this decade with the opening of his addition to he Milwaukee Art Museum. The big nod came in January of 2004 when he was designated for the $2 billion PATH transit station at Ground Zero.
That was followed almost immediately with the unveiling of another – very different – condominium development, known as Townhouses in the Sky, with developer Frank Sciame on a waterfront site on historic South Street at the foot of Manhattan.
Sciame, a well-regarded New York developer and contractor, declined to discuss his project, because it is in the approvals process with the New York State Attorney General. But the Townhouses are a wholly different animal than Fordham Spire: a dozen units, each 45 feet square, stacked and twisting gradually upward from a base holding a cultural center to a height of 835 feet. At the time of the announcement, despite a groundswell of critical acclaim, widespread goodwill and the scorching Manhattan condo market, most observers saw little chance of success. But Sciame’s current silence actually may bode will for this project.
(The PATH station itself is being re-engineered for two reasons. The first was to address renewed security concerns, expressed long before the London Underground attacks and consistent with the police concerns that led to the redesign of the hapless Freedom Tower. The second was to bring costs back into line. One source told The Slatin Report that the projected $2 billion budget had ballooned to $3 billion; another source told us that the redesign had reduced the station’s size and altered the materials while leaving its appearance relatively unchanged. The new designs are expected to be unveiled at a public meeting of the Port Authority on Thursday.)
The net effect of a proposal such as Fordham Spire, and of its successful completion, should be to raise the bar for the future of development and design. In fact, the opposite has occurred: a great designer is commoditized, and a great city is caricatured.
I'm glad I'm not the only one. Fordham is pretty, but 80 South Street feels more interesting to me. I like how mechanical it looks.Originally Posted by TLOZ Link5
The problem with the Chicago proposal is that it’s entirely a piece of sculpture with no context to the city. I’ve always criticized Calatrava as being a gifted sculptor and not an architect. The NYC proposal works in NY because it features familiar forms, that said it might not even work in midtown, but it has the square forms and the incredible height to width ratio and spire of prewar buildings. Calatrava’s Chicago proposal would not work in NYC and it most definitely does not work in Chicago a city dominated by jumbo boxy skyscrapers. This building is not entirely original, as I have already mentioned it shares a lot with Turning Torso, likewise that building is successful because it stands as abstract sculpture and this building would be successful if it was built as its design intends it as a standalone sculpture. It is alienated from the city fabric.
Personally, I love the design and have no problem with how it fits into Chicago. Having recently been in that exact location I think it is fine to have something this unusual there. The black monolith of the JH tower was no less unusual when built.
I am not an engineer or an architect but I do know there is only so much you can do creatively with a structure of that height that needs to be thin enough for residential as well as minimize wind loads and sway for the comfort of residents. I have a very strong feeling the shape of the tower is in direct response to the engineering needs.
Yes - Calatrava creates elegant form that solves functional problems, without hiding the function. It's much more interesting than pomo fake facades.Originally Posted by JMGarcia
I also think that this project's difference is a positive - even in Manhattan (especially in Manhattan) diversity makes the skyline more interesting. There's enough black boxes already...
Stern, I'm just not following your argument. Calatrava's tower doesn't "fit" into Chicago the way the Chrysler Building and its outrageous spire didn't fit into 1930 NYC. There was no precedent for that curved, kooky spire, and critics of the time said as much.
An immense box might "fit" into Chicago's skyline more smoothly, but what's the point? Chicago--and NYC--have enough boxes. Calatrava's design stands out, and that's fine.
Every new project must balance between contextualism and originality. Contextual the Calatrava building is not, but it's so lovely that it deserves to be built.
As others on this board have noted, though, it's a l-o-n-g way from a pretty rendering to construction. We'll see if this beauty ever gets into the sky.
This is like something right out of Ellsworth Toohey in "The Fountainhead." The author says he stands for first-rate architecture...he wants daring...but isn't it reprehensible that there's so much, well, money involved here? Why, getting this genius architect on board, is, well, SELLING this project, this "pyramid scheme."Originally Posted by TonyO
There are no big ideas in this tower, you see. It's just a trophy property, a bunch of "pods."
This critic neglects to describe what "broader idea" this tower should serve. Perhaps one that includes a pod he can afford?
Let´s remember that one of THE most photographed buildings in Chicago all through the 1960´s was the Marina City apartments. They are round and space-agey and had NOTHING to do with the style of the city.... but by now, they are Chicago icons.
I agree that the twisty-turning thing is fast becoming a cliche but the Calatrava building is at least an elegant rendition...