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  #201  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 6:10 AM
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A few images from this evening

















3C345324nu0mrj[/IMG]















PHASE I










Reminds me of early images of the Trump Tower river-walk proposal.











My personal opinion on this project is that it has potential. One of my biggest complaints is that 3 towers seem a little cluttered. Personally I'd rather see 2 taller towers over 3. It would allow for even more open space, sight corridors and create a greater punctuation on the skyline. I know the process is still early, but currently the towers seem flat and a little boring.

It was mentioned that over the years about 5,000 sq. ft. of developable land along the river has been lost to erosion.

Over 900' of river-walk will be constructed.

Phase I could possible begin in late 2012 and be completed in the fall of 2014.

Phase II could be build from 2016 and wrap up around 2018

Phase III could be completed around 2020.

Build lobbies will be tucked in and useable floor space begins about 90' up. They said this was to allow for a feel of openness.

They are planning to file the PD 05/20/12

The project will cost roughly $1,000,000,000 and generate about $40,000,000 in property tax revenue.
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  #202  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 6:19 AM
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What are they building in 3 phases? Not the towers I hope...

Anyway, I wonder if zoning laws would allow for 2 taller towers to be built rather than 3 smaller ones, that would be amazing. More room for a park or something below too.
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  #203  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 7:25 AM
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Just got back from the presentation meeting at Apparel Center. I was sitting with the 2 tour guides who spoke out, who are also members of this forum. It's too bad we didn't get to meet more of you who were there... maybe it's time to have a forum get-together so we get to know each other in person.

Although the designs aren't totally bad, the Pelli Clarke Pelli buildings disappointed even my lowered expectations. If you like an Oz-like skyline of shiny abstract shapes, these are your thing. But I would send them to Dubai where they belong. Do they not look like Almas Tower or several other similar ones? Somehow I doubt the finer materials will make much difference from far away.

BKL's building seems to me far better. The traditional greatness of Chicago architecture is the way it articulates structure. People may think the design is just an elegant box, but some of the boldest and most imaginative architects (e.g. Herzog & de Meuron) spent their early careers fine-tuning box forms. The architect from PCP spoke about "faceting" the buildings to make them visually interesting, but I think this was the wrong approach, and they lack personality. It would have been better to give them definition and clarity.

The people I spoke with afterward agreed the landscaping was one of the best features of the plan. The site is filled with reasonably large trees and native plants arranged on an artificial hill leading up from the river.

It was clear from the meeting that the drawings were *NOT* a massing study. However they are not necessarily final designs. Also the development is planned in 3 phases, with completion of the West Tower (BKL, residential) in 2014, the South Tower (tallest) in 2018, and the East Tower in 2020.
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  #204  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 7:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bnk View Post
I know that this is just a minor function of the whole project but I could not get what you said out of my head even before you posted it. It was the first thing I looked at when the details were presented....

Either way, this is no doubt better than the surface parking going on-on the site that was status quo for the last many decades...

I just hoped for a more proud tower that could have broke the 1000 ft mark,...

that said I will await more info on this very important site on the river.....
At the tail end of the meeting (I mistook and thought it started at 8pm ) there was discussion saying that Apparel Mart had air rights so that 50% of its views would have to be preserved. Given that its guaranteed that whatever develops will not cover a good portion of the Sun-Times building.

The best I think that could be hoped for is that a Wolf Point development would spur another developer to piggy back of the hopefully success of Wolf Point and redevelop the property.
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  #205  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 7:54 AM
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I wanted to attend the meeting but just couldn't make it for a variety of reasons. I get here and see we've already devolved into more NY-Chi, Second City inferiority-complex stuff.

The towers are definitely a mixed bag. The BKL tower looks amazing, and the way it interacts with the river is extremely dynamic... it pushes right up to the water and overhangs the riverwalk like the Wards warehouse gone vertical.

On the other hand, the two Pelli towers are way too similar. Pelli has a chance to address the Main and South branches in two unique ways, yet he essentially clones the same tower twice and then makes one taller. As others have already noted, the designs don't seem to have much rationale to them.

The massing is also quite disappointing. Apparently view corridors were in play, but the massing of the three towers does absolutely nothing to shape the public space formed by the river. The dispersed site plan erodes the crisp edge formed by the Mart and the Apparel Center, while doing nothing to evoke the shape of the shoreline.

The circulation is perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. The developers have decided to embrace the cul-de-sac nature of the site, which will prevent Wolf Point from ever truly feeling like a public space. They are providing a riverwalk, but it's a really boring, perfunctory one (except under the BKL tower) with no opportunities to engage the water. There's no sense of how the riverwalk will link to Kinzie and points north, or of how the site plan will be a proper terminus for the LONG east bank riverwalk stretching up to Evanston. There's no link to the west bank, which would drastically shorten walks to Ogilvie and Union and make the site competitive with Wacker. I wanna see the traffic study, not to demand more parking but to demand an alternative that embraces multiple forms of access including Metra, bus, L, pedestrian, and bike.
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  #206  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 9:15 AM
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Agree about the two Pelli towers looking too similar. The two Pelli towers look like they are an office campus trying to compliment each other. I would rather have two buildings contrasting rather then aping each other but that is a personal preference I suppose.

........I wouldn't be bumbed to see these buildings built as presented given that if they were built elsewhere in the city I would be pretty stoked. They are elegant and but I don't imagine they would stop and grab your attention and make you admire them. I was hoping for the type of quality and stature found by all 3 entrants in the SF Transbay complex but I feel this falls just a grade short. The height isn't an issue for me especially if it ends up at 950. I feel a dynamic signature design can well be done at that height.

I am more disappointed by the riverfront and hope it gets a revision far more then the towers. Even though the rivers edge looks like an untamed jungle right now I think it would be a shame to get rid of all the vegetation that sits at the rivers edge and not leave at least a strip of greenery. I think such greenery makes a nice transition and pays homage to the history of the site once was.

Also perhaps I missed it but the shor time I was there I didn't see or hear much evidence of any retail or dining spots down by the riverwalk. Perhaps they look at Trump and done analysis and don't see much potential. Even so it would be a shame to think a few dining destinations or stores to draw pedestrians and visitors in wouldn't be a part of the plans.

I understand that east views from the south-central tower are paramount. Still I do think it would serve the overall scheme well to pin the south tower back from the river a bit. At least from renders it looks like tower basically dissects the riverwalk into two sections. The obligatory fountain (of which the river already has a handful) to tie altogether seems a bit clumsy. I think a sculptural piece or two characterizing the history or symbolism of the river junction (a'la Calatrava's Chicago Spire sculpture) would make a better focal point.

I also think the lobbies of the south and west towers being more flush with the riverwalk would be a benefit. Less ivy covered podiums would be better but I understand the practical constraints they are working with given all the parking they have to provide under those podiums.

Last edited by nomarandlee; May 30, 2012 at 10:36 AM.
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  #207  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 10:16 AM
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First of all, there have been plenty of great skyscraper designs over the past few years and, while popular, not many people believe that Aqua is "the best."
My exact words were "one of the best to come out of the US." You would do well to read more carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiPhi View Post
Second, your belief that most of America's most important architecture is from Chicago Architects or in Chicago is not really true. This is a belief that I held when I lived full-time in Chicago, but have increasingly realized is untrue. If we look at current American Starchitects, almost all of them are in New York. And while SOM is important, so is KPF. The firt international style scraper in the US was in Philly. If we look back to the first Chicago school, Frank furness in Philly and Grahm Anderson Probst White in NY were equally influential and important in their domains. And later, Phillip Johnson, Lecourbusier, Walter Gropius etc. all designed modern buildings as important as Mies Van Der Rohe. The Glass House was built before the Farnsworth house, if only by a few years..
Look, I know you just got out in the world and are excited about all the new things you're learning, but one year's worth of architecture courses does not a historian make. This is the last I will say because I feel I am wasting my time.

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Originally Posted by ChiPhi View Post
Now back to the building. To whomever was saying that the style has no substance and the curves happen for no reason, I will say this: technically, Mies was right, Less is more when trying to find a particular purpose. But Venturi said less is a bore.
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  #208  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I wanted to attend the meeting but just couldn't make it for a variety of reasons. I get here and see we've already devolved into more NY-Chi, Second City inferiority-complex stuff.

The towers are definitely a mixed bag. The BKL tower looks amazing, and the way it interacts with the river is extremely dynamic... it pushes right up to the water and overhangs the riverwalk like the Wards warehouse gone vertical.

On the other hand, the two Pelli towers are way too similar. Pelli has a chance to address the Main and South branches in two unique ways, yet he essentially clones the same tower twice and then makes one taller. As others have already noted, the designs don't seem to have much rationale to them.

The massing is also quite disappointing. Apparently view corridors were in play, but the massing of the three towers does absolutely nothing to shape the public space formed by the river. The dispersed site plan erodes the crisp edge formed by the Mart and the Apparel Center, while doing nothing to evoke the shape of the shoreline.

The circulation is perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. The developers have decided to embrace the cul-de-sac nature of the site, which will prevent Wolf Point from ever truly feeling like a public space. They are providing a riverwalk, but it's a really boring, perfunctory one (except under the BKL tower) with no opportunities to engage the water. There's no sense of how the riverwalk will link to Kinzie and points north, or of how the site plan will be a proper terminus for the LONG east bank riverwalk stretching up to Evanston. There's no link to the west bank, which would drastically shorten walks to Ogilvie and Union and make the site competitive with Wacker. I wanna see the traffic study, not to demand more parking but to demand an alternative that embraces multiple forms of access including Metra, bus, L, pedestrian, and bike.
This is a very well-reasoned critique. ChiTownCity, Dan In Chicago, and Vertigo made similar points. I definitely agree.

Last edited by Ch.G, Ch.G; May 30, 2012 at 10:36 AM.
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  #209  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan in Chicago View Post
Also the development is planned in 3 phases, with completion of the West Tower (BKL, residential) in 2014, the South Tower (tallest) in 2018, and the East Tower in 2020.
If there's as silver lining, this is it. The best of the three towers is going up first, and there are four years or so before construction starts on Pelli's contribution. I'm hopeful that there will be design revisions.
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  #210  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 11:55 AM
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I like this.
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  #211  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bnk View Post
I know that this is just a minor function of the whole project but I could not get what you said out of my head even before you posted it. It was the first thing I looked at when the details were presented....
As much as most of us would love the the ST building to be completely covered, they can't do it...

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  #212  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I wanted to attend the meeting but just couldn't make it for a variety of reasons. I get here and see we've already devolved into more NY-Chi, Second City inferiority-complex stuff.

The towers are definitely a mixed bag. The BKL tower looks amazing, and the way it interacts with the river is extremely dynamic... it pushes right up to the water and overhangs the riverwalk like the Wards warehouse gone vertical.

On the other hand, the two Pelli towers are way too similar. Pelli has a chance to address the Main and South branches in two unique ways, yet he essentially clones the same tower twice and then makes one taller. As others have already noted, the designs don't seem to have much rationale to them.

The massing is also quite disappointing. Apparently view corridors were in play, but the massing of the three towers does absolutely nothing to shape the public space formed by the river. The dispersed site plan erodes the crisp edge formed by the Mart and the Apparel Center, while doing nothing to evoke the shape of the shoreline.

The circulation is perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. The developers have decided to embrace the cul-de-sac nature of the site, which will prevent Wolf Point from ever truly feeling like a public space. They are providing a riverwalk, but it's a really boring, perfunctory one (except under the BKL tower) with no opportunities to engage the water. There's no sense of how the riverwalk will link to Kinzie and points north, or of how the site plan will be a proper terminus for the LONG east bank riverwalk stretching up to Evanston. There's no link to the west bank, which would drastically shorten walks to Ogilvie and Union and make the site competitive with Wacker. I wanna see the traffic study, not to demand more parking but to demand an alternative that embraces multiple forms of access including Metra, bus, L, pedestrian, and bike.
^ Great critique, and based on the renderings I think you have a good point about the design's problems.

Unfortunately, seems like the NIMBY's (who sound like a bunch of morons based on what has been presented here earlier) will spend more time bitching about parking and density and less time trying to shape this into a better development for the entire city.
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  #213  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 12:45 PM
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Unfortunately, seems like the NIMBY's (who sound like a bunch of morons based on what has been presented here earlier) will spend more time bitching about parking and density and less time trying to shape this into a better development for the entire city.
It really sounded like the group of them had marks setup so they could all applaud at the same time...

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  #214  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 1:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan in Chicago View Post

If you like an Oz-like skyline of shiny abstract shapes, these are your thing. But I would send them to Dubai where they belong. Do they not look like Almas Tower or several other similar ones? Somehow I doubt the finer materials will make much difference from far away.

The architect from PCP spoke about "faceting" the buildings to make them visually interesting, but I think this was the wrong approach, and they lack personality. It would have been better to give them definition and clarity.
Before I write my comment, I want to say that I have a ton of respect for you Dan. Your a very insightful commenter on these forums, and make far more contribution than I ever could. And again, I'm more of an amateur enthusiast than a professional in the industry. Now....

I have to say that I am incredibly disappointed in Chicago forumers who want to shoot down anything that's not a variation of a simple box. It seems like anything that looks a little different, or falls out of our comfort zone gets the knee-jerk "put it in Dubai" or "put it in Guangzhou" comment. Ardecila is probably right in describing how the use of the space, and relation to the river is suboptimal. But it escapes me how anyone could think the boring, shortest tower in this presentation is the best looking tower. And the faceting of the two tallest towers is superb; it's what I love. Also, the tapering of the base of the tower, and how it terminates in an interesting, fine grating. I dunno.... I'll probably get flamed for my comment. But I just had to say it.
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  #215  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 2:16 PM
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^^^
I absolutely agree with you. BKL does a refined and beautiful box (and I don't think this one is their best). Yet people keep talking about some desire to be a vanguard of modernity. Or at least to have a modern design. While I think that what made Aqua so great was the way that it layered modern forms over the classic Miesian box (extruded to be thinner and taller), we can do more than reference our past; people who seem to have a vendetta against postmodernism should know this the most and yet many seem most afraid of anything that doesn't embrace the Chicago box.

Of course, I've never taken an architecture course or anything of the sort either, so who knows what that means and I am a bit of an autodidact in these matters. I will say that the biggest problem I see is the site plan. It is the first comment I made and I really do think it needs to be addressed before we even look at the stylistic banality of this project. The tower shape should have done more to reflect the river, but I believe that the site planning is the real culprit in this matter.

Also, CHG, do you see how I managed to subtly correct you? Simply an example of the wonders of a liberal arts education...
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  #216  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 2:32 PM
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my design review in 3 words or less.

BKL tower: pretty nice

Pelli towers: meh

overall site plan: seems too arbitrary





if something along the lines of what we have seen here ends up being built, then it only makes the sting of losing the goldberg proposal for wolf point hurt that much more.

now THIS would have been a suitable work of architecture fitting for such a prominent site:



source: http://forgottenchicago.com/wp-conte...t-1024x508.jpg
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  #217  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 2:38 PM
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We're looking at a few soulless buildings being put at such a strategic spot. Dimensions look appropriate, designs need more work.
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  #218  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 3:07 PM
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Oh my god Steely... I hope your kidding about that old newspaper article. That looks like some structure you'd see in a Fallout 3 city. It looks like some radioactive manufacturing building.
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  #219  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 3:11 PM
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Oh my god Steely... I hope your kidding about that old newspaper article.
nope, not kidding at all. that old beastly goldberg proposal was at least bad-ass and cool. these pelli towers are just blah; there's no substance to them. they could be anywhere.
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  #220  
Old Posted May 30, 2012, 3:14 PM
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Steely, I suppose it looks different, but I don't think it is in a good way. Marina city works while this doesn't. It is too fat I think. The brutalism isn't balanced by the spindely nature of the tower...
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