The Second Sun
A team led by Alex Lehnerer from the University of Illinois at Chicago won first prize in Mine the Gap, the ideas competition which asked entrants for ideas on how to adaptively reuse the hole excavated for the foundation of Santiago Calatrava's Chicago Spire.
The winning entry, titled The Second Sun, envisions the hole as a home base for a yellow hot air balloon. As a whimsical twin to the ferris wheel (or the AeroBalloon) across the way in Navy Pier, it would be a fantastic addition to the Chicago skyline, whose sharp lines and pallid complexion would be awesomely contrasted by its voluptuous curves and cheery brightness. Watching it slowly bobbing up and down amid a static forest of glass and concrete would certainly be a marvelous sight, perhaps not unlike Alexander Calder's red Flamingo in its Miesian aviary.
Attached to this bubble monument to the bubble era is a disc-shaped swimming pool. While frolicking about in the water, you can enjoy the panoramic lakefront views from the ghost condominiums of a ghost skyscraper, the promise of those enchanting marketing brochures at last fulfilled. (We can't fully make out what's printed on the bottom of the pool — nor can we read the text, so we'll just fantasize that it's an actual floor plan.)
Surrounding the hole is an artificial beach where you can soak in the sunlight from the real sun or the reflected rays from a latex sun. The beach actually extends beyond the project site, going under bridge and into the adjacent and still undeveloped DuSable Park, where a circular soccer pitch is added.