Skyscraper, interrupted

What’s that huge hole in the ground in downtown Chicago? It was supposed to have been a residential skyscraper–the Chicago Spire–and it could have been the second-highest building in the world, but the project crashed when the global economy did the same. [During a recent architectural tour of Chicago, one docent shed exactly zero tears over  the Spire’s demise, calling the idea behind it “architectural grandstanding.”]

At Web Urbanist , you can scroll through a portfolio of 12 super high-rise projects around the world that—literally—never got off the ground because of the recession.  The portfolio offers a stark contrast between the vision, via architctural renderings, and the reality–abandoned constructon sites and less-than-half-completed structures.

Some of them would have been spectacular achievements of creative architecture. The people who designed them and financed them dreamed big and lost big, too.

Maybe these projects are object lessons in the perils of excess and financial overreach. Perhaps they’re a good starting point for a discussion about the relationship between money and imagination. Either way, they’re definitely fun to look at.