Dark Matter: Is The Spire an Actual Restaurant in Chicago? Is the Obama Building Real?

In Apple TV+’s ‘Dark Matter,’ Jason Dessen meets different versions of himself in worlds that are either eerily similar to his or nothing like it. In the hopes of reuniting with his family, he raffles through several versions of Chicago, each with its own unique factor that sets it apart from the Chicago Jason comes from. In the seventh episode, he ends up in a world that is objectively much better than Jason’s. Interestingly, the episode refers to a place that has a strange connection with the world we live in.

The Spire in Dark Matter is the Unrealised Project in the Real World

One of the things that makes ‘Dark Matter’ such an interesting watch is the way it elevates its narrative using Chicago’s locales. The city is a character in itself, and with each variation of Jason in the show, we also see a Chicago with different personalities. A clever thing that the show does in this context is to turn its attention towards the things that could have been for Chicago, and the Spire is one of them.

The Spire is a restaurant on the top of a fascinating building. In real life, the Spire, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was supposed to be a fascinating building near Lake Shore Drive. Called the Chicago Spire Tower, had it been built, it would have been 1458 feet high with a 2000 feet height attained with the spire on the top of it. On its completion, it would have been the tallest building in the country. The ambitious project caused a lot of buzz, but even as its foundation was laid in 2007, financial and logistical troubles plagued the project. It got caught up in legal binds, from which it could never free itself, and in 2016, the developers decided not to go forward with the project.

The location remained abandoned for a while, but now, a new project has been commissioned for the site, with a completely new design for two buildings of considerably lesser heights. In its place, two towers are being constructed, with the work already underway on one of them. The first tower is due to open in 2027.

The Obama Building in Dark Matter is Not Quite as Fictional

With the Spire, ‘Dark Matter’ explores the what-if scenario of a failed project. However, the Spire in the show is still a restaurant, and the building that houses it is called the Obama Building. In real life, had the building been built, it would have been called the Chicago Spire Tower. Still, the city will have a building named after the former president.

An entirely different project from the Spire and in a different location, work is underway for the Obama Presidential Center, which is being developed as a community hub on the South Side of Chicago. It is to hold a nineteen-acre campus that will have everything from a gym to a garden to a library and a museum. The tentative date for the opening of the center is sometime in 2026. With the place going to be a hotspot for the young crowd in Chicago, it is no surprise that the Apple TV+ series references it, but it brings its own twist by introducing a different version than the audience is familiar with.

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