Chicago’s city skyline is about to be graced by a stunning new super-structure that will rise above its shore like a helical seashell. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the 2000 foot Chicago Spire will be the world’s second tallest building upon its completion in 2011. The halcyon monolith is beautiful example of biomimicry, taking cues from the spiraling structure of the nautilus. It’s an iconic spire with a timeless form that will take strong future-forward steps with a projected LEED gold rating.

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The Chicage Spire has been called the world’s most significant residential building, featuring 150 floors and 1,194 residences. The slender structure rotates each floor an average of 2.44 degrees to total 360 degrees from top to bottom, guaranteeing that no two views are the same. Calatrava explains: “what distinguishes this building from any other tall building . . . is that this building is not done for a corporation, or a group of corporations, it is done for individual human beings”

“Inspired by nature, by the interaction of earth, water, and air,” the structure is replete with biomorphic elements. Its helical form incorporates the golden mean and the Fibonacci sequence to closely mirror the spiraling growth of the nautilus shell. Calatrava states “the principles I follow are based on repetition. This reminds you of nature because nature often works in patterns.”

The sparkling super-structure incorporates a variety of sustainable elements, including a fluid facade shrouded in high performance glass that has been designed to protect migratory birds. All landscaping is maintained via a rainwater recycling system, and a geothermal system draws river water to cool the building. The entire interior is outfitted with an Intelligent Building & Energy Management System, and it bests energy efficiency standards by 15 percent.

Lately we’ve seen Chicago bolstering its eminent architectural heritage with scores of stunning projects and sustainable initiatives; this latest project is sure to be a sustainable gem that will channel and exemplify the ardency of these efforts.

+ The Chicago Spire + Santiago Calatrava

Via Associated Construction Publications