Why architecture matters : lessons from Chicago (Book, 2001) [WorldCat.org]
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Why architecture matters : lessons from Chicago

Why architecture matters : lessons from Chicago

Author: Blair Kamin
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
This text collects the best of architecture critic Blair Kamin's columns. Using Chicago as a barometer of national design trends, the book sheds light on the state of American architecture during 'the Nervous Nineties'.

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Genre/Form: Newspaper columns
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Blair Kamin
ISBN: 0226423212 9780226423210 0226423220 9780226423227
OCLC Number: 46401587
Notes: Includes index.
Description: xxi, 386 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: pt. 1. The evolving metropolis. [1.] The mediocre mile : The mayor's Maypole: Boul Mich pylon plan reason to hoist warning flags ; Twice cursed: rehabbed Marriott Is miles and miles from magnificent ; Faking history: Disney's make-believe architecture is just what Michigan Avenue doesn't need --
[2.] That comeback street : Stately Street: retro renovation puts a once-great shopping Mecca on the road to economic and aesthetic recovery --
An elevating station: avoiding the tunnel vision of the past, the airy renovation of the State/Roosevelt subway stop sets a zesty standard ; Building a better block 37: good intentions simply aren't enough for high-stakes State Street project --
[3.] Public works and the public realm : Updating the Dark Ages: Daley's walled-neighborhoods plan would do much to hurt the city and little to stop crime ; The bridges of Cook County: design enhances engineering in citywide project ; Triumphal arches: Damen Avenue bridge Is a modern-day beauty --
[4.] Making the past a part of the future : Tumbling legacy: Shortsighted moves by the city have the p\otential to send architectural gems toppling like dominoes ; Vertical triumph: Reliance Building restoration is a vote for Old Glory : Crumbling icons: Some of Frank Lloyd Wright's greatest buildings are falling apart, but the bigger question is what can we do to save them? --
[5.] Suburbanizing the city :City-escape: a new, schlocky brand of architecture promotes a Chicago that never was ; Populist playground: Navy Pier has shaped up, but aesthetics have been shipped out ; The sky above, the dud below: Developer John Buck is skating on thin ice when he compares his North Bridge project to New York's Rockefeller Center --
[6.] Urbanizing the suburbs : Shopping for an identity: renovated Old Orchard too much at once ; Losing yardage: city and suburbs worse off when homeowners gobble up their green space ; Suburban skyline: Arlington Heights fights sprawl with urban innovations. pt. 2. The art of architecture. [7.] Sizing up the skyscraper : Still standing tall: plain and simple, Hancock rules ; Reaching for the sky: after two decades, Sears comes up short ; Bigger, but better? New world's tallest design for 7 South Dearborn leaves room for improvement ; Inner beauty: stunning atrium offsets new skyscraper's public face ; Green giant: Germany's Commerzbank is a breath of fresh air for stale skyscrapers --
[8.] Unsung heroes : The man with the plan: revisiting Daniel H. Burnham, the architect who bent entire cities to his will ; Masters of understatement: Miesian architects may get no respect, but their boldly simple style suits Chicago to a T ; Weese's legacy: historical society's exhibit salutes a consummate man of the city --
[9.] Opportunities lost (and found) in Chicago : Doing the wrong thing flawlessly: the Arts Club of Chicago holds on to the past instead of exploring the future ; A fumbled chance at greatness: the Museum of Contemporary Art tries but fails to extend Chicago's history of design triumphs ; Structural damage: Chicago has forfeited its title as the nation's architectural capital ; A star is reborn: underappreciated Adler Planetarium rockets into the future with daring new addition --
[10.] Architecture with a capital "A": look elsewhere : Monument to memory: the Holocaust Memorial Museum is a searing space of pain and healing ; Star attraction: the Hayden Sphere has landed and it's friendly to earthlings ; Welcome to the future: Frank Gehry's stunning new Guggenheim Museum in Spain is the first great building of the next century ; Berlin's leading edge: Helmut Jahn's new Sony Center helps turn a wasteland into a thriving urban center that draws together east and west --
[11.] Importing "starchitects" : Koolhaas's IIT campus center: success will be in the details ; Gehry's Chicago Band Shell: outsider art is catalyst for creativity ; Eisenman's Aronoff Center in Cincinnati: for a design to stand the test of time, the building must do the same. pt. 3. Architecture as a social art. [12.] Places and catalysts for gathering : Town square I: face lift improves Daley Plaza and maintains its special character ; Town square II: Folk Music School's new home strikes the right note ; Moo-ving tale: cows broke down the fences that kept us apart --
[13.] Raising and razing temples of sport : Comiskey Park: new neighbor not necessarily new friend ; The stadium: the end is near for Chicago's shrine ; The United Center: don't take me out to the mall game ; [14.] Building a better life : A leap of creativity: old St. Pat's is new again ; Where learning's fun by design: Back of the Yards school is a neighborhood beacon ; Day-care package: Tigerman leads the way toward a bootstrap architecture that gives low-income kids a leg up --
[15.] Private housing: building boom, architecture bust : Strange neighbors: bright new condos add vitality to the city, but something about them is just not right ; Tall building comes up short: new apartment tower is a drag on the skyline --
[16.] Public housing: sheltered by design : Housing that works: politicians and bureaucrats have been the real architects of public housing, but it doesn't have to be that way ; Urban mosaic's lost piece: creative planners have discarded the "tower-in-the-park" model that disconnected public housing from its surroundings ; Building a sense of security: fences, individual front doors, and porches create safe spaces that can free residents from being virtual prisoners of drug dealers and prostitutes ; Myth must be exploded: stereotyping ignores factors that make high-rises livable buildings or monumental eyesores. pt. 4. The lakefront: democratic vistas. [17.] Putting the car in its place : Gem in the making: the new Museum Campus is Chicago's latest lakefront jewel, but it still needs a little polishing ; Park above, parking below: a subterranean garage adds excitement to a museum and green space to the lakefront ; Beauty and the beach: three new castles in the sand suit the lakefront perfectly --
[18.] Reinventing the lakefront : A flawed jewel: the lakefront needs help, and the city of Chicago has a rare chance to remold it for the twenty-first century, but where's the vision? ; The great divide: carved by racism, the chasm between north and south side amenities can be bridged, but it will take more than a new flowers ; Grant Park's double life: jammed and raucous during summer festivals, empty and sleepy the rest of the year, our central park needs a single, vibrant personality ; A landmark of labor: as a celebration of industry, the idled South Works Steel Plant could forge a new link in the chain of waterfront parks and museums ; Striking a balance: Lincoln Park is about to add the Nature Museum to its already full plate, while the south lakefront hungers for improvements ; Big canvas, little plans: Mayor Daley could be an architect for the shoreline, not just a groundskeeper, and now is the time to act.
Responsibility: Blair Kamin.
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For more than a decade Blair Kamin has been writing essays on the state of contemporary architecture for the Chicago Tribune. A selection of the columns are published here, offering a look at  Read more...


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