A new twist on Calatrava’s tower

Blair Kamin in the Chicago Tribune:

There’s an old saying in journalism: Two facts and a deadline make a trend. Well, gentle readers, this is being written Friday morning, the day after the Chicago Plan Commission approved a plan by the renowned, Zurich-based architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava for a twisting tower that would be the nation’s tallest building. Your architecture critic is trying to make sense of it all and connect the trend lines.

So here goes: The design for the $550 million tower, which was breathtaking but hardly flawless when it was introduced last July, has taken some important steps forward, both in the sky and along the ground. Now here’s the trend part of the story: If this tower and Jeanne Gang’s sensuous Aqua high-rise both get built, Chicago will be running a clinic in the new aesthetic possibilities offered by skyscrapers that are places to live rather than work.

You can see those possibilities in the slender, but boldly sculptural, profiles of both designs. Tall residential buildings are apt to be thinner than tall office buildings so residents can be closer to the views for which they paid so dearly. They do not have to project the businesslike image of a corporation. And they are rising in a new kind of city, a post-industrial city, which manufactures culture instead of widgets.

More here.

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