Remembering Louis Sullivan, Seed-Germ Savant

Midwest
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Louis Sullivan set out to invent an architecture of democracy. (Courtesy Whitecap Films)

There’s been no shortage of worthy architectural documentaries in recent years, but you’ll want to make room on your DVD rack for the latest look at a major American figure: Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture. Recently given its New York premiere courtesy of the good people at Docomomo New York/Tri-State, this touching and tragic film offers a portrait of the man who perhaps more than anyone aspired to create an American style of architecture, yet was left behind by a nation on the cusp of a century that Sullivan himself did much to define. Read More

Ebert Gives Modernism Two Thumbs Down

Midwest
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
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Ebert admits to loving the original University of Chicago campus, though hating its modern additions, such as Saarinen's Law School. (Courtesy UChicago)

Ebert.

Everyone may be a critic, but none moreso than Roger Ebert. While film has long been the Chicagoan’s preferred medium, he has increasingly cast his eyes and pen elsewhere on his Sun-Times blog (begun after a bout of thyroid cancer). Yesterday, he fixed his attention—and mostly scorn—on modern architecture. It’s a highly opinionated piece, one in which Ebert openly admits his increasingly “reactionary” preferences:

It was not always so. My first girlfriend when I moved to Chicago was Tal Gilat, an architect from Israel. She was an admirer of Mies. Together we explored his campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. She showed me his four adjacent apartment buildings on Lake Shore Drive and said they looked as new today as when they were built. It is now 40 years later, and they still look that new. Then I was impressed. Now I think of it as the problem. They will never grow old. They will never speak of history. No naive eye will look at them and think they represent the past. They seem helplessly captive of the present.

Read More

Targeting the Loop

Midwest
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
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(courtesy Joseph Freed and Associates)

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that big-box retailer Target is negotiating with the developers Joseph Freed and Associates for space at the venerable Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building, now named the Sullivan Center.  Formerly home of the department store Carson Pirie Scott, the building, designed by Louis Sullivan, has remained largely vacant following a recent substantial rehab effort.  The upper floors house the School of the Art Institute Chicago’s departments of  architecture, interior architecture, and designed objects and the architectural mega-firm Gensler.  The building anchors the slightly more downtrodden southern end of State Street within the Loop.  Read More

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