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.