View Full Version : If Chicago is wrong, I don't wanne be right..
The Urban Politician
November 24th, 2004, 01:28 AM
Everybody criticizes Chicago for building skyscrapers and buildings that try to look old. Even I will admit that a lot of dull and boring things have been built. But a lot of beauty has come about from this. For example, I love 840 N Lakeshore Dr, I think The Elysian will look great, as does Lakeside on the Park! All of them harken to another era. Plus, Chicago is getting back on the forefront by simultaneously building cutting-edge towers (The Contemporaine, the new Spertus Institute, 340 on the park, etc)
Chicago shouldn't envy Asian cities at all. They are building too much too fast--and cheap. It's all steel and glass. When all is said and done, Chicago will still have that elegant, classy look that most other cities lack. But at the same time, it will be forward-looking, esp with many of the newer more modern-looking highrises.
But perhaps many consider this a bad quality. I don't think it absolutely has to be--and Chicago is showing some evidence of this
November 24th, 2004, 04:00 AM
I agree. I see some of these cities trying to look futuristic, building wierd, wacky super-modern towers....and I don't exactly see the future in them. I see a tacky sci-fi movie!
Go Chicago! A perfect balance of old and new.
November 24th, 2004, 06:18 AM
If people are criticizing Chicago for building skyscrapers that look old, then they're basically criticizing it for building skyscrapers that are classy and fit in with the urban landscape around them. Chicago does a better job of this than any other city. We build beautiful buildings, which at the right time and place either a) stand out from the crowd (JHC) or b) blend in with their surroundings (333 W. Wacker).
Most of the Asian cities are building skyscrapers so rapidly that they end up all looking the same: futuristic, and in many cases awkward and rarely fit in with what is on the periphery.
I'll take Chicago any day. Screw the Asian cities. Chicago and New York set the precedent. They remain the model for architecture today.
November 24th, 2004, 04:25 PM
i still contend that there is WAY too much of the that craptacular beige concrete shit in rivernorth. and the way some of those monstrosities meet the side walk with their full block 10 story parking podiums is a crime against civility. some people like older looking crap, and that's fine i suppose, but the reasons why so many of chicago's new towers have been so utterly reprehensible go far beyond mere stylistic concerns.
The Urban Politician
November 24th, 2004, 04:32 PM
I don't think pedestrians really care or can tell the difference whether they are walking by a parking podium, as long as it's designed well. As far as I'm concerned, if there are windows/retail at the base of the building, that's all that really matters from a pedestrian standpoint.
In other words, having parking at the base of buildings isn't a real problem, for example the Pinnacle does a good job of giving its parking podium a nice look while still providing urban street activity (ie retail planned on the ground floor). I see a lot of other towers following suit (Elysian, etc). But yes, some buildings built in the late '90's were not built with the pedestrian in mind and sadly, it shows.
November 25th, 2004, 03:48 AM
Most people forget that architecture is also about context, as well. There are so many buildings that, instead of being beautiful and innovative, are simply ego trips that stick out like a sore thumb. In that respect, Chicago does well with contextualism.
November 25th, 2004, 06:39 PM
I am all for giving consideration to a neigborhood when designing a building, but Chicago has too many buldings built in the "Old World" style. This is not 1928, and we should not be building stuctures that are meant to look as though they were built 75 years ago. When done carefully and done right, it is very possible to blend modernism into the fabric of historic neighborhoods.
Take a look at our library, while it is a nice building, there wasn't any risk in it's design, especially when comapred to what Seattle has just completed. Their library is on the cutting edge of the future of architecture and is among the top worldwide designs of the decade.
A look at the new design for the Spertus Institute is a prime example of how to blend without detracting from the historic character of the surrounding area.
We as a city are missing the boat when it comes to progressive architecture. Chicago invented the skysraper, and Mies brought modernism to the forefront of cutting edge design in the 1940's. It is time we re-claim our status as a place that is leading and not following the future of design.