Eavesdrop> Sign of the Times: Reflecting on Chicago Summer-Long Trump Tower Saga

Chicago's Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Chicago’s Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Mr. Donald Trump has bestowed upon fair Chicago an ode to his own self-worth, spurring an architectural debate that’s pulled in Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jon Stewart, and plenty more. Grab a bag of popcorn and we’ll catch you up.

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Designed in Chicago, Made in China: Blair Kamin, Chicago designers mull Chinese urbanization

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Blair Kamin convened a panel of designers at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last Wednesday for a discussion around themes explored in his recent series “Designed in Chicago, Made in China,” in which the Chicago Tribune architecture critic assessed the effects of that country’s rapid development on urbanism and design. Read More

Is expanding Chicago’s soldier field a hail mary pass?

Midwest
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Chicago's Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (--Mike-- / Flickr)

Chicago’s Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (–Mike– / Flickr)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a plan to boost capacity at Soldier Field, the city’s football stadium, in a bid to host the Super Bowl.

But as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin laid out in a story Sunday, the play is a Hail Mary. Read More

Eavesdrop> Keep In Touch, BK!.  Blair Kamin. We’ve poked fun at Blair Kamin numerous times, from his nerdy-sexy picture next to his byline to our disparate views on PoMo design. Despite all that, his contribution as an architectural critic and historian is quite profound and very important for the Midwest. Kamin’s announcement that he’s taking a leave of absence from the Chicago Tribune for a fellowship at Harvard made us panicky. Newspapers are trimming staff faster than design firms during the recession. We just hope that with or without Kamin, the Tribune recognizes the value of his work and keeps that legacy alive.

 

Bye Bye Blair!.  Blair Kamin. Pulitzer-prize winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin had better go hat shopping. He’s got another feather for his chapeau! A super prestigious Neiman Fellowship from Harvard! “My aspirations for the fellowship are straightforward: To return to my job refreshed and refocused, so I can provide our readers with the most sophisticated, discerning coverage of architecture—and, in the process, to demonstrate anew why newspapers should cover this inescapable art,” Kamin told Time Out Chicago. Congratulations Blair. Don’t get tempted to stay on the coast. The Midwest needs you!

 

Kamin: Humana Resurrecta.  Michael Graves Humana building, Louisville, 1986 (Courtesy AIAArchiblog). Blair Kamin seems to have joined the reconsider PoMo chorus, stating in his Sunday column that the movement “deserves a more sophisticated reappraisal.” The focus of the Tribune tribute was Michael Graves’s Humana building in Louisville, Kentucky.  By drawing comparisons to Johnson’s AT&T building in its unabashed commercialism and to Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 333 Waker Drive for its national significance, Kamin writes that “Graves crafted a tower that could only have been built in Louisville.” The reassessment comes on the heel of Graves receiving the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for classical and traditional architecture in Chicago last month, which in turn came after last fall’s PoMo Conference at New York’s Institute for Classical Architecture and Art. Seems that the classicists are going gaga for PoMo.

 

Yet Another Star Turn For Jeanne Gang

Midwest
Monday, November 14, 2011
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Watch Jeanne Gang: The Sky’s the Limit on PBS. See more from WTTW DOCUMENTARIES.

Still riding the wave of publicity following her recent MacArthur genius grant win, Jeanne Gang gets the full star treatment from Chicago’s public TV station WTTW. This documentary, “Jeanne Gang: The Sky’s the Limit,” is all praise. Blair Kamin and Stanley Tigerman figure as her head cheerleaders. It would have been nice to have someone puncture the bubble a bit, possibly interrogating Gang about architect’s limits, rather than merely presenting the discipline (and Gang as one of its leading lights) as a environmental and societal savior. The documentary does show some engaging glimpses of Studio Gang’s working methods and office style, so there’s plenty to enjoy, even for the (mild) skeptics.

 

Quick Clicks> Barrios, Shopping Atlantic, Blah, Egypt

Daily Clicks
Thursday, February 10, 2011
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A section of the barrios in Bogata from Harry Murzyn and David Varon.

Barrios with Altitude. A poetic study of the organically evolving perimeter of Bogotá, via Lebbeus Woods.

Atlantic Aspirations. Forest City Ratner is still on the hunt for Atlantic Yards funding, but has sweetened the deal by tapping SHoP–who is already spiffing up the stadium and public plaza–to design B2, the first apartment building in the complex, says The Observer.

Sterile Street. Blair Kamin calls out developer Joe Sitt for obliterating “bracing history” in exchange for “bland consistency” on State Street, in The Chicago Times.

Impromptu Planning. In Egypt, protesters have organized a mini-city in Tahir Square, complete with urban planners. Listen to an NPR audio clip or read the related transcript.

Eavesdrop MW 01

Midwest
Thursday, October 15, 2009
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MacLear and Wright (center) spotted with Metropolis Martin Peterson (left) and Karrie Jacobs (right) at MoMA in May. (Courtesy Metropolis)

MacLear and Wright (center) spotted with Metropolis' Martin Peterson (left) and Karrie Jacobs (right) at MoMA in May. (Courtesy Metropolis)

PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES
Word on the street is that Chicago’s modern design auctioneer extraordinaire Richard Wright and Philip Johnson Glass House executive director Christy MacLear have been spending time together. That’s a lot of design obsession for one relationship, we’re just sayin’. Moreover, what about the poor flooded Farnsworth House? Wright, it seems, prefers to rendezvous at the imitation over the original, even as its water-stained furniture is being restored. Richard—your hometown needs you! (OK, so the Glass House is actually older than Farnsworth, but we all know Johnson borrowed his best ideas.) Read More

After the flood

Other
Monday, October 6, 2008
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On September 14, the Farnsworth House was engulfed by the Fox River, sustaining significant damage to its interiors and furnishings. The house, designed by Mies van der Rohe and now a National Trust Historic Site, is reopen for tours through October 29 to benefit the restoration. According to a new blog covering the effort, estimates for repairs are still being tallied.

While restoration work is proceeding, some suggest that the house should be moved to a more secure location.

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