This 2,000-Foot-Tall Skyscraper Could Totally Redefine Chicago’s Skyline

The highway-straddling structure is a wonder to behold.

Chicago's 2

How do you fill a $50 million hole? Nope, that’s not a cheap set-up to knock a presidential candidate. It’s the question architecture firm Gensler asked as part of an internal company-wide design competition.

The goal was to come up with a concept that would repurpose the 110-foot wide gaping hole left these past eight years by the failed Chicago Spire project. The result is Gateway Tower, a 2,000-foot tall edifice that would straddle Lake Shore Drive, redefine the riverwalk and lakefront areas, and act as a transformative hub for the whole city.

It would be both a financial center and iconic attraction (Photo: Gensler)
It would be both a financial center and iconic attraction (Photo: Gensler)
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Although not likely to be made, if it were, the giant skyscraper would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, second on the planet (by a long shot) to Burj Khalifa.

As opposed to the original intent for this space (luxury condos), the new tower would take a tiered approach, mixing apartments, condos, hotel rooms and attractions. The latter includes DuSable Park at ground level, a Funicular ride 500 feet up, a Skylobby for the hotels and retail, and of course a Skydeck at the tippy top.

Hoping to greatly impact both Chicago's skyline and tourism (Photo: Gensler)
Hoping to greatly impact both Chicago’s skyline and tourism (Photo: Gensler)

To justify the structure’s existence from a financial perspective, the designers put an emphasis on its potential impact to tourism efforts. Although it stands to reason it’d attract attention, it’d have to be at a better clip than One World Observatory, which came up a million shy of its goal in its first year.

Other than just constructing a nosebleedingly high observation deck, how could they attract visitors willing to shell out $30 bucks a pop? 

Well, we’re fans of glass slides, rooftop wet lounges and rollercoasters. So maybe the architectural experts can sort out how to make all that happen.