Photos taken yesterday show a major section being lifted and installed onto the 30-foot-tall metal sculpture titled “Constellation,” undergoing assembly at the Chicago River’s confluence in the Fulton River District. The striking art installation is designed by world-renowned architect and artist Santiago Calatrava.
The vibrant red vortex design overlooks the Chicago River’s confluence and lies within Hines‘ River Point development, which also includes the 52-story, 730-foot River Point Tower, as well as the 1.5-acre River Point Park. The current worksite is located at the center of the park, consisting of green space, criss-crossing paths, and a walkway that spans the riverbank from several yards above.
Construction of Constellation has been privately funded by Hines and expected to cost in the “millions of dollars” range, as reported by the Tribune in 2018. The spiral design is made up of a series of crescent-shaped metal wedges. These wedges begin from ground level stretching several yards in length, which gradually reduces as they coil upward. The material includes painted aluminum on their outer faces, with steel reinforcing them from inside.
Beyond its striking design and commanding location, Calatrava’s work holds significance given his last Chicago project was the canceled 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire. Also comprising of a twisting appearance, this megatall skyscraper would have been the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere were it to be completed. After financial woes surfacing from the great recession and prolonging into 2014, construction of the partially built tower was ultimately abandoned, leaving a literal void that’s currently being filled by a different developer and architect.
The official address for the surrounding River Point park is 444 W Lake Street. For those wishing to access the park and sculpture, several bus routes can be found nearby, including a four-minute walk southwest to northbound Route 56’s Jefferson & Lake. Southbound 56 access can be found one block further west at Desplaines & Lake. Meanwhile, The Loop‘s north and southbound routes 37 and 125 can also be found within a five-minute walk across the river. Further south and southeast include the 20, 60, 124, 157, and J14 routes as well.
For light rail, all CTA L lines can be found within a several block radius, with the nearest access being the Green and Pink Lines’ Clinton station.
As mentioned in YIMBY’s previous article, a crack was discovered in one of the sculpture’s pieces during its assembly in July, prompting a delay that now appears to have been resolved. Provided all pieces are in fact ready, a full completion should likely be in the near future.