Friday, July 29, 2005

Fordham Spire will stand tall


One of the most exciting international architects practicing today is Santiago Calatrava, who has just unveiled his plans for the Fordham Spire, the tallest skyscraper in the US, to be built on Chicago's lakefront (above). When completed, it will be the second tallest in the world, behind the Burj Tower presently under construction in Dubai. The Herald quotes the head of Fordham Co. Christopher Carley, who clearly has a sense of history: Good on him. Chicago's skyline is like an art collection; it's wonderful that Chicagoans value these art treasures so visible in their city. Naturally the design has attracted knockers, from a Donald Trump apprehensive of the competition -- "a total charade" The Donald calls it -- to people suggesting it will be "a target for terrorists." Carley and Calatrava brush off both claims. Of the latter, Calatrava says:
Chicago was America's birthplace for modern architecture, nurturing the genius of Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe," Carley said in a statement. "We want to carry that tradition into the 21st century and give our city a masterpiece by one of today's indisputable geniuses."

"The target was not skyscrapers," he said in reference to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. "The target was the human lives within them. That's what made it so horrible. But what is my weapon to react against this thing? This building is my weapon! It is a way to say we build in our culture a respect for human life and for a pluralistic society. We have to make an effort to continue inventing the book of life."

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