du sable park

ChicagoSpire-005-629x1024A nice summary today on the history of the Chicago Spire and its immediate neighbor, Du Sable Park, from the good folks at The Chicago Architecture Blog.  Is this another kick-Calatrava when he’s down post?  It is not, although this piece on NPR this morning did that pretty well.

No, this week we’re all about that little piece of green in front of the spire, the alluringly named Du Sable Park.  It’s a leftover bit of industrial land, originally the home of a lamp factory that left it full of thorium and too toxic for human occupation.  But it stands right at the mouth of the Chicago River–or, really, the constructed mouth of the river, since historically the junction between lake and River happened about another quarter-mile inland.

The site has been second only to Wolf Point in fantastic proposals, and it’s about to get a few more.  This semester’s Comprehensive Studio site in my section picked this over three other downtown sites to work on for the next 14 weeks–even after hearing about the fates that have befallen previous proposals.  The program is for a Contemporary Music Center–and while there were instantly comparisons to a certain Opera House in Sydney, getting to and from this particular site is going to be a challenge.  We head out there in a week to figure out whether it would be possible or not.

And the Spire?  Despite breathless news releases, still a very deep hole, of course…