Friday, September 22, 2006
Why Chicago gets Calatrava and we get the Miami Circle
As of this posting, the tallest building in the world is scheduled to rise in Chicago. World renowned architect Santiago Calatrava's $1.2 billion design is 125 stories and almost 2,000 feet to the top of its spire. Its sensuous design lifts the spirit
Since it has been approved with groundbreaking expected to happen next year, MVB assumes that it has met FAA approval and that it is being built on land where no "sacred ground" or important artifacts were found. Those two factors, along with disgruntled nimby's are hurdles every developer must jump if his or her projects are ever to be built in Miami.
It is ironic how Calatrava describes his vision for the building, using Native American references that could have been used here to justify building the nixed twin condo towers on a pre-Columbian Tequesta site:
"I know that Chicago is an Indian name, and I can imagine in the oldest time the Native Americans arriving at the lake and making a fire, with a tiny column of smoke going up in the air," Calatrava said. "With this simple gesture of turning one floor a little past another, you achieve this form."
Instead of allowing knee-jerk political correctness give us a $27-million-public-dollar circle of holes in the ground known as the "Miami Circle," and to MVB as "the thing", city officials could have made a compromise between the past and the present that would have allowed construction of the towers with preservation of "the thing" as we have argued for in this blog.
As long as visionaries are hobbled by the visionless, Miami will be searching for a world-worthy architectural identity.