As the home of the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Tower, Chicago has its fair share of tall buildings. But no building in the Windy City can compare to The Chicago Spire, a 2,000-foot tower situated on a 2.2-acre peninsula where Lake Michigan meets the Chicago River.

Designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, The Chicago Spire will be the world's tallest purely residential tower when it's finished in early 2011. It will boast 1,200 units on 150 floors as well as a four-story transparent glass lobby, a six-story underground resident parking garage for 1,350 cars, and a 1-acre landscaped public plaza.

“When living in an architectural city, our lives are defined by the buildings that are built over our lifetime,” says Laura Sherman, director of sales and marketing for Shelbourne Development Group, the Dublin, Ireland-based firm that is developing The Chicago Spire. “I view The Chicago Spire as an architectural milestone because it will be so beautiful and recognizable.” Shelbourne broke ground on the tower in August 2007.

Calatrava's design for the tower was inspired by various forms in nature, including a snail's shell and a twisting tree trunk. The result is a super-slender, glass-clad cylindrical building with seven sides that twists and narrows toward the top.

Sherman says it is Calatrava's design rather than the height of The Chicago Spire that sets it apart from other towers in the city. “The height of the building is interesting to people in the abstract, but if it were 50 stories shorter, it would still be a spectacular building,” she says. “The Chicago Spire is avant garde—both artistically and technologically. It creates a new standard by which all buildings will be measured.”

The Chicago Spire

Location: Chicago
Height: 2,000 feet
Stories: 150
Developer: Shelbourne Development Group
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Notable: Each floor rotates about two degrees from the floor below, creating a distinctive, fluid appearance. All 1,200 units have unique floor plans.

The Tallest of the Tall:

Return to main article Sky High

Economic Engine

Two for One

Outside the Norm

City Icon