Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that famed Spanish architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter, Santiago Calatrava, has designed a sculpture to be installed on the 1.5-acre public park and landscaped riverwalk in front of River Point tower. Calatrava was the architect of the since-abandoned Chicago Spire project.
Emanuel made the announcement alongside representatives of Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines and Levy Family Partners, the owners of the River Point high-rise. Fabrication of the artwork is expected to take approximately 14 months, with installation at the site anticipated for summer 2019. Michele Quinn Fine Art advised the ownership group throughout the selection process.
“Chicago is a city of both outstanding architecture and world-renowned public art,” Mayor Emanuel said. “It is a testament to the new vitality of Chicago’s riverfront that one of the world’s foremost architects and artists chose the banks of the Chicago River for his latest work.”
The piece—with the working title of S25—will stand 29 feet tall and wide, twisting in an outward reaching spiral constructed of overlapping, leaf-like elements descending in scale from very large at the sculpture’s base to very small at the outer reach of the sculpture’s spiral form. When approached from any angle, the massive, layered spiral will reveal stunning architectural depth and movement.
“The partners of River Point hope Chicagoans will fall in love with the inspired Santiago Calatrava sculpture as they have with Chicago’s Picasso, Kapoor, Chagall, Miro, Plensa, Calder and so many more,” Larry Levy said.
New art and recreation along the Chicago River is a major component of the mayor’s Building on Burnham plan. The mayor announced the comprehensive plan earlier this year, which will invest in the lakefront, the Chicago River, natural areas and recreational opportunities in neighborhoods across the city.
Calatrava, whose most notable projects in the United States include the Milwaukee Museum of Art and the Oculus in New York City, was selected by Fordham Co. in 2005 to design the 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire along the lakefront. Irish developer Garrett Kelleher eventually took over the project, but after a series of financial setbacks, the development folded. Related Midwest now owns the site.