Wanda Vista renderings revealed

Photos via Studio Gang
Photos via Studio Gang

Last night, Chicago starchitect firm Studio Gang Architects revealed the new renderings for the Wanda Vista — a 93-story complex to feature 405 luxury condominiums and 169 hotel rooms in the Lakeshore East development right on Lake Michigan. The Wanda would top out at 1,144 feet, making it the third tallest building in Chicago.

View the four new images in the gallery above, with the Wanda Vista hoping to transform the Chicago skyline by 2019.

I am always intrigued by the architect’s inspiration, and at the reveal event last night, principal Jeanne Gang said her latest project is inspired by the frustum shape seen in ice cubes or Toblerone chocolate, via DNAinfo. The article continues:

Together, the three frustums will create eight corners at street level, but the tallest part of the building will be the skinniest among its super tall peers in Chicago. Gang said the thinness of the tower will enhance exposure to natural light and cast less shade below. 

“Tall buildings, oftentimes, they’re just a reflecting box and singular,” Gang said. “Here, we’re trying to work with texture at various scales so that from a human standpoint, you can see this variation.”

Moreover, Gang said Monday the design is meant to mimic the reflection of light off Lake Michigan, via ArchPaper. This sparked the light bulb for me even more, imagining the wonderful, cinematic relationship of the Wanda near the waters of Lake Michigan itself.

It’s important to note that the project, though expected to be completed by 2019, still a number of city approvals like a zoning change. Pending approval, Magellan hopes to start construction next year with a 3+ year estimated timetable of completion.

Wanda Vista 8 (c) Studio Gang Architects

Wanda Vista 10 (c) Studio Gang Architects

Many times projects don’t make it beyond computer screens, but irregardless in this case, I admire Gang’s design for the Wanda and how it would incorporate into the Chicago skyline as a whole. I believe it would be a beautiful addition and ultimately bring other benefits aside from aesthetic. Early reports say the Wanda would create 420 permanent jobs and generate $19 million in new real estate tax revenue for the city. Plus, the tower would connect to the city’s underground pedway system, and Upper Wacker Drive would run through the bottom of Wanda, connecting to Waterside Drive and the rest of Lakeshore East, again via DNAinfo.

Let’s hope this clears all the hurdles for construction!

In the meantime, for more of my commentary and coverage on Jeanne Gang’s keynote speech at the 2014 AIA Convention, click here (see: Purpose is the process.)

For more info on the Wanda, see Studio Gang’s website here.

Wanda Vista 9 (c) Studio Gang Architects