calatrva.jpg calatrva.jpg

Animating The Chicago Spire

The Spire by Santiago Calatrava

The Chicago Spire, a building designed by superstar architect Santiago Calatrava, is poised to become North America’s tallest free-standing structure and the world’s tallest all-residential building when it is completed in 2011. When the developers officially unveiled the project last September, their presentation included a slick five-minute animated promo. Pushing far beyond typical animated architectural renderings, the developers enlisted vfx houses Lightstream Pictures and Sony Imageworks to create a feature film-style piece complete with dramatic staging and lighting. A portion of the film can be seen on the building’s website,, and a video about the building with a few more animation clips can be seen on YouTube. It just goes to show that there’s no product or idea that can’t benefit from some well conceived animation.

  • Chuck R.

    Cool animation. Especially the first seconds —before the spire transforms into a giant steel drill bit.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Wow. What a gorgeous building. Talk about a new target for terrorists. They’ll be foaming at the mouth when they see that baby. You couldn’t PAY me to live in that thing.

  • red pill junkie

    Calatrava is a genius. Why he hasn’t received the Pritzker already is beyond me.

  • K.Borcz

    Yea, a giant white unicorn-horn is soo gonna fit in with all our German inspired steel architecture. We can also paste saruman-like references to it. I mean, we already have a paper here called “The Red-Eye” and it is a giant white spire.

  • Red Pill, and K.Borcz, Spot on comments. Matt, it is gorgeous, isn’t it.

    Watching this was very impactful, that’s pretty good film. It gets you to wait for the reveal and then it turns a beautiful warm golden color before retreating into the still of the night and all the people turn on their lights. My brother in Chicago is getting this link mailed to him.