Architect Santiago Calatrava had big plans for Chicago. In 2007, construction started on the Spire, a twisting supertall skyscraper along the lakeshore and Chicago River. The 2,000-foot tower would have been right up there with Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as one of the tallest towers in the world.
Then the economy tanked, construction of the Chicago Spire was canceled, and the site was left vacant.
Curbed Chicago reports that Gensler is stepping in with its own supertall building. The Gateway Tower will be the same height as the Chicago Spire, only without the twisting shape. Gensler conceived a glass rectilinear structure with X-bracing. The tower bends at the base, and a supporting “leg” extends over Lake Shore Drive.
The tower will have space for condos, apartments, hotels, and tourist attractions. Access will be made available to the Riverwalk and water taxis. A skydeck will have a restaurant and sky garden. Vertical cable cars will carry passengers up to mid-level attractions.
Specific designs are still unknown for the 2.2-acre site, as it remains in only the conceptual stage. If built, the Gateway Tower will be the tallest building in Chicago, considerably higher than the 1,450-foot Willis Tower.