Archive for February, 2007

02/28/2007

What did Frank Lloyd Wright tell the artists of Disney?

This is not a joke! Click lloyd right (here), to find out. [via]
or easier to read transcripts here.

He told them,

“As I understand our modern architecture, it is more nearly Oriental than Occidental.”

and

“I am not a Communist. I love my country.”

He was asked,

“Do you find it is true that there are a number of people who are not willing to accept modern architecture in the same way that (they) are not willing to accept modern music?”

and he answered,

“It is just because they are ignorant because of their ignorance and stupid because of their ignorance. They don’t know and they just can’t see and why worry about it?”

And this FLW pearl of wisdom,

“Culture is what this country needs now. Culture brings something from within outwards. Education takes something and tries to stick it on from the outside. Education tries to tell you and culture shows you. Best of all, show by being.”

Finally,

“If you drive a modern car in front of a Colonial house, you insult either the car or the house every time you do it.”

So where would Wright drive this beauty? The car I mean.


He’d drive it front of any one of his own buildings, no doubt. Where else?

Photo from the same Frank Lloyd Wright website of a float designed by Frank Lloyd Wright! for the 1957 Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena.

Wright, who made his home in the Valley in 1957, agreed to design the float for the city at no cost after a small committee from the Phoenix Junior Chamber of Commerce approached him at Taliesin West. Wright was 90 at the time. The float was built for $6,000. Parade judges were impressed, and they awarded the “First in Sunshine” float first prize in its category!

-E

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02/28/2007

What did Frank Lloyd Wright tell the artists of Disney?

This is not a joke! Click lloyd right (here), to find out. [via]
or easier to read transcripts here.

He told them,

“As I understand our modern architecture, it is more nearly Oriental than Occidental.”

and

“I am not a Communist. I love my country.”

He was asked,

“Do you find it is true that there are a number of people who are not willing to accept modern architecture in the same way that (they) are not willing to accept modern music?”

and he answered,

“It is just because they are ignorant because of their ignorance and stupid because of their ignorance. They don’t know and they just can’t see and why worry about it?”

And this FLW pearl of wisdom,

“Culture is what this country needs now. Culture brings something from within outwards. Education takes something and tries to stick it on from the outside. Education tries to tell you and culture shows you. Best of all, show by being.”

Finally,

“If you drive a modern car in front of a Colonial house, you insult either the car or the house every time you do it.”

So where would Wright drive this beauty? The car I mean.


He’d drive it front of any one of his own buildings, no doubt. Where else?

Photo from the same Frank Lloyd Wright website of a float designed by Frank Lloyd Wright! for the 1957 Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena.

Wright, who made his home in the Valley in 1957, agreed to design the float for the city at no cost after a small committee from the Phoenix Junior Chamber of Commerce approached him at Taliesin West. Wright was 90 at the time. The float was built for $6,000. Parade judges were impressed, and they awarded the “First in Sunshine” float first prize in its category!

-E

02/27/2007

Joffrey Tower


Speaking of the Joffrey, look who’s moving in to Booth Hansen’s tower on State Street, across from Macy*s nee Fields. It was to be called MoMo, “Modern Momentum” – glad that name got changed! Joffrey Tower sounds so much more dignified. Next week, the ballet company will launch their approxmiately 35 million dollar capital campaign, to raise money for the buildout, their endowment, outreach, education, live music and more.

The Joffrey will take about 40,000 sq. ft. in the building, on the third and fourth floors. They hope to start moving in in December. It’ll house their administration, plus six or seven rehearsal spaces of various sizes, a small costume shop, some scenery design and almost 1200 sq. ft of storage.

And they’ll get ground floor exposure right there on State Street with a ticket booth.

The main public feature will be a black box studio theater in the Joffrey Tower with some 100 seats. I can’t see what this grand troupe would be able to perform in there – some smaller dances? – and they’ll rent out the space. Most of their local performances which will continue to be in the Auditorium Theater.

So it’s happening, remember that talks had broken down between the Joffrey and the developer of the tower, Chicago-based Smithfield Properties LLC. For a long time it seemed the troupe couldn’t afford the move. A $4 million grant from the state helped.

I wonder how much property values are increased by saying, “I live in Joffrey Tower,” rather than “I live in MoMo.”

Smithfield deserves kudos for the good work they’re doing with Booth Hansen. I’m glad the parking for this building on State Street, that great street is underground and not in a “building podium.” Of course for that they get a zoning variance to build more mass above ground but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

Smithfield and Booth Hansen also teamed up for the gorgeous (and pricey)
30 W. Oak.

And they have another project, called “SoNo.” What’s with these names? Am I missing something? To me that’s “so no.” Oh, these modernists think they’re echoing Mies’ wish for an architecture that’s “almost nothing?” Let’s get an arts group to move in there and lend it a better name too!


A little mo’ on MoMo. What looks like steel I-beams around the glass in the image above are actually glass themselves, spandrel glass with aluminum fins (steel prices kept going up.) So it’s nearly an all-glass facade.

Too bad few if any of the dancers would ever be able to afford to live there! I see around town taking the bus, eating cheap food, generally suffering for their art….

Gd bless ’em.
-E

02/27/2007

Joffrey Tower


Speaking of the Joffrey, look who’s moving in to Booth Hansen’s tower on State Street, across from Macy*s nee Fields. It was to be called MoMo, “Modern Momentum” – glad that name got changed! Joffrey Tower sounds so much more dignified. Next week, the ballet company will launch their approxmiately 35 million dollar capital campaign, to raise money for the buildout, their endowment, outreach, education, live music and more.

The Joffrey will take about 40,000 sq. ft. in the building, on the third and fourth floors. They hope to start moving in in December. It’ll house their administration, plus six or seven rehearsal spaces of various sizes, a small costume shop, some scenery design and almost 1200 sq. ft of storage.

And they’ll get ground floor exposure right there on State Street with a ticket booth.

The main public feature will be a black box studio theater in the Joffrey Tower with some 100 seats. I can’t see what this grand troupe would be able to perform in there – some smaller dances? – and they’ll rent out the space. Most of their local performances which will continue to be in the Auditorium Theater.

So it’s happening, remember that talks had broken down between the Joffrey and the developer of the tower, Chicago-based Smithfield Properties LLC. For a long time it seemed the troupe couldn’t afford the move. A $4 million grant from the state helped.

I wonder how much property values are increased by saying, “I live in Joffrey Tower,” rather than “I live in MoMo.”

Smithfield deserves kudos for the good work they’re doing with Booth Hansen. I’m glad the parking for this building on State Street, that great street is underground and not in a “building podium.” Of course for that they get a zoning variance to build more mass above ground but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

Smithfield and Booth Hansen also teamed up for the gorgeous (and pricey)
30 W. Oak.

And they have another project, called “SoNo.” What’s with these names? Am I missing something? To me that’s “so no.” Oh, these modernists think they’re echoing Mies’ wish for an architecture that’s “almost nothing?” Let’s get an arts group to move in there and lend it a better name too!


A little mo’ on MoMo. What looks like steel I-beams around the glass in the image above are actually glass themselves, spandrel glass with aluminum fins (steel prices kept going up.) So it’s nearly an all-glass facade.

Too bad few if any of the dancers would ever be able to afford to live there! I see around town taking the bus, eating cheap food, generally suffering for their art….

Gd bless ’em.
-E

02/25/2007

Chicago Ergo Sum

Second City? The Joffrey, August Wilson, and with the opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” if we’re second, we’re second to

nun.

Hmm, what should we see today?
This Gauguin in the Art Institute’s “From Cezanne to Picasso show?” More on that in a moment.

What a week! It started with the Goodman’s superb production of August Wilson’s last masterpiece, “Radio Golf.” That play sings of our time, without music. His African-American characters – in the 1990’s – have lost their music. One gets a spot on the radio and he talks about golf! (Hence the name of the play.) The one time the two leads do sing is when they learn from the government that their neighborhood has been officially declared “blight.” They do an African-based dance and cry out ecstactically “blight! blight! blight!” Now for August Wilson to show African-Americans happy that their neighborhood is blighted, and that the U.S. Government thinks so, and to have his two characters be happy to work with the U. S. Government to get federal loans to build new housing to make money, is a strong condemnation indeed. Of course, things change in the course of the play. The set for this final play in the Wilson cycle picked up bits from earlier plays, nearly all of which are set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. And one more note about the music, rather than singing the blues as August Wilson characters from earlier in the century do, these two jokers in “Radio Golf” sing “Blue Skies, ” sounding like a couple of frat boys. His 1990’s characters have for the most part lost their songs, which his play for the 1910’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” warned against.

“Now, I can look at you, Mr. Loomis, and see you a man who done forgot his song. Forgot how to sing it. A fellow forget that and he forget who he is. Forget how he’s supposed to mark down life…See, Mr. Loomis, when a man forgets his song, he goes off in search of it…till he find out he’s got it with him all the time.”
-Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

The Goodman leased its smaller Owen Theater to Congo Square Theater for a take-your-breath-away “Joe Turner.” (Both shows closed Sunday.) When Herald Loomis is lying on the floor at the end of act one, “What you gonna do Herald Loomis?” because his feet won’t hold him, you can’t wait for intermission to end, to find out what he gonna do. And that great line at the end, I don’t want to spoil it but it’s about “shining like new money” leaves one speechless and hopeful. The cast was superb, particularly Allen Gilmore, as Bynum. “I binds ’em. But you can’t bind what don’t cling.” He embodied the shaman in his character, in ways that will make your hair stand end, like his.

Kudos to the Goodman for producing exceptionally well all ten of Wilson’s plays. They’re the only theater in America to put them all on. And I look forward to the day when we’ll be able to see them in order, one after the other. There’s hardly a more important acheivement in American art.

As I walked home from the Goodman I saw the back of our Picasso statue, then walked passed Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, Mies van der Rohe’s IBM building, the Wrigley, the Tribune Tower, all lit at night… What a city! thought I.


The next day I feasted on the Joffrey Ballet in Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Theater. Both took my breath away. The Auditorium always does, especially as it’s restored and regilded; the Joffrey also were also golden. Most especially their performance of “Les Presages,” Leonide Massine’s most beautiful marriage (in 1933) of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony to dance. The divine Maia Wilkins was possessed as Action. When she crouched down and stared at you with her cat eyes she looked like a leopard in the night. Wilkins was on fire.

And the duo of Thomas Nicholas in black and Emily Patterson in a short red skirt danced Passion as if they were that. What a combination, he was structure, she was decoration, he was material she was wispy, one absolutely craving the other, they were thesis, antithesis and synthesis, dancing what is there and what is not there, which is what passion is all about.

Temur Suluashvili left no choices when he appeared. He commanded the stage as Fate.

The backdrop thrust forth the spiritual qualities of Kandinsky, in an energetic, color and action-filled canvas – 1930’s Russian and Bauhaus. The costumes picked up bits from the backdrop. So color and sound became one. And the dancers, moving to the music and wearing the colors also blurred all lines between color, sound and movement.

With the strong lighting shining on them from the sides you had a scarily good dance.

There was some inconsistency in the ensemble (I did not see the opening night cast).

I didn’t love the version I saw of George Balanchine’s seminal modernist work “Apollo. ” Fabrice Calmels danced the lead – he’s extremely tall which should be a benefit, but he doesn’t dance with enough grace for me. A couple of years ago I saw the Joffrey dance “Apollo,” I think Calvin Kitten danced the lead, and he and it were superb. Fabrice always seems to be thinking about what to do next, as if the steps are not coming from his being. There’s a delay between intention and movement. So Fabrice made a fine Apollo, except when he moved.

Only the opening, with April Daly as Leto giving birth to Apollo and Fabrice stumbling to learn to walk is stunning. I’m glad the Joffrey restored that scene to the dance after Balanchine excised it. (And glad the Joffrey helped preserve “Les Presages” and “The Green Table” too.) The end of “Apollo” is a knockout, when the gd ascends the steps to Olympus. When the ballet ended I walked to the back of the theater and up a flight of steps myself, to see what it felt like.

To see the Joffrey in the Auditorium Theater, it hardly gets better than that.

They closed with “The Green Table,” which is always a heart-shattering dance. Because we never learn the lessons of war. The Green Table is perfect for these crazed times, and I’m glad the Joffrey programmed it; alas as you know it debuted before World War Two and it couldn’t make people come to their senses then. The dancers had fun with the opening and closing scenes of diplomats, and then drove home the anti-war message beautifully. The soloists and the ensemble danced with conviction; the costumes, the lighting, even the haircuts! – all rang true. Michael Levine danced Death and he made me want to run away from him as far as I could. I hear Fabrice Calmels was quite good as Death as his height and deliberation benefits him in that role.

The programming of what they call “Destiny’s Dances” (can’t they come up with a better title?) made a fascinating arc. It began with the early, nearly abstract, not very narrative “Les Presages,” to Balanchine’s “Apollo showing the birth of Modernism, to “The Green Table” – which is narrative, expressionist and very cinematic.

The Joffrey is touring, to PA, NY, Kansas City, Los Angeles and a few other cities. If they’re coming to your town, don’t miss them.

I’m glad they’re traveling, to spread the word about how good they are. That’s what they need to build their reputation and continue to attract talent. Enjoy! —

But wait there’s more! Also Now Playing in Daleyville.

Rudolf Stingel at the MCA, and at the Art Institute, two great photo shows: “When Color Was New,” and


Far from Home: Photography, Travel and Inspiration,” twentieth century photographers working away from home. Nice to see lesser-known work by well-known photographers.

And at the Art Institute is the miraculous “From Cezanne to Picasso, Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde. ” 32 glorious, vibrating, yet soothing Cezannes; Gauguin’s “D’ou venons nous?” and a room or two full of Picassos. It’s room after room of masterpieces, from Russia, Paris, New York and local.

So who could ask for more? Oh, tonight I go to the Lyric’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. It’s supposed to be overwhelming. I’ll get back to you on that.

-Edoardo

Bottom Photo of more fine modernism: Edward Weston. Washbowl, 1925 © 1981 Center for Creative Photography

02/25/2007

Chicago Ergo Sum

Second City? The Joffrey, August Wilson, and with the opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” if we’re second, we’re second to

nun.

Hmm, what should we see today?
This Gauguin in the Art Institute’s “From Cezanne to Picasso show?” More on that in a moment.

What a week! It started with the Goodman’s superb production of August Wilson’s last masterpiece, “Radio Golf.” That play sings of our time, without music. His African-American characters – in the 1990’s – have lost their music. One gets a spot on the radio and he talks about golf! (Hence the name of the play.) The one time the two leads do sing is when they learn from the government that their neighborhood has been officially declared “blight.” They do an African-based dance and cry out ecstactically “blight! blight! blight!” Now for August Wilson to show African-Americans happy that their neighborhood is blighted, and that the U.S. Government thinks so, and to have his two characters be happy to work with the U. S. Government to get federal loans to build new housing to make money, is a strong condemnation indeed. Of course, things change in the course of the play. The set for this final play in the Wilson cycle picked up bits from earlier plays, nearly all of which are set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. And one more note about the music, rather than singing the blues as August Wilson characters from earlier in the century do, these two jokers in “Radio Golf” sing “Blue Skies, ” sounding like a couple of frat boys. His 1990’s characters have for the most part lost their songs, which his play for the 1910’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” warned against.

“Now, I can look at you, Mr. Loomis, and see you a man who done forgot his song. Forgot how to sing it. A fellow forget that and he forget who he is. Forget how he’s supposed to mark down life…See, Mr. Loomis, when a man forgets his song, he goes off in search of it…till he find out he’s got it with him all the time.”
-Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

The Goodman leased its smaller Owen Theater to Congo Square Theater for a take-your-breath-away “Joe Turner.” (Both shows closed Sunday.) When Herald Loomis is lying on the floor at the end of act one, “What you gonna do Herald Loomis?” because his feet won’t hold him, you can’t wait for intermission to end, to find out what he gonna do. And that great line at the end, I don’t want to spoil it but it’s about “shining like new money” leaves one speechless and hopeful. The cast was superb, particularly Allen Gilmore, as Bynum. “I binds ’em. But you can’t bind what don’t cling.” He embodied the shaman in his character, in ways that will make your hair stand end, like his.

Kudos to the Goodman for producing exceptionally well all ten of Wilson’s plays. They’re the only theater in America to put them all on. And I look forward to the day when we’ll be able to see them in order, one after the other. There’s hardly a more important acheivement in American art.

As I walked home from the Goodman I saw the back of our Picasso statue, then walked passed Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, Mies van der Rohe’s IBM building, the Wrigley, the Tribune Tower, all lit at night… What a city! thought I.


The next day I feasted on the Joffrey Ballet in Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Theater. Both took my breath away. The Auditorium always does, especially as it’s restored and regilded; the Joffrey also were also golden. Most especially their performance of “Les Presages,” Leonide Massine’s most beautiful marriage (in 1933) of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony to dance. The divine Maia Wilkins was possessed as Action. When she crouched down and stared at you with her cat eyes she looked like a leopard in the night. Wilkins was on fire.

And the duo of Thomas Nicholas in black and Emily Patterson in a short red skirt danced Passion as if they were that. What a combination, he was structure, she was decoration, he was material she was wispy, one absolutely craving the other, they were thesis, antithesis and synthesis, dancing what is there and what is not there, which is what passion is all about.

Temur Suluashvili left no choices when he appeared. He commanded the stage as Fate.

The backdrop thrust forth the spiritual qualities of Kandinsky, in an energetic, color and action-filled canvas – 1930’s Russian and Bauhaus. The costumes picked up bits from the backdrop. So color and sound became one. And the dancers, moving to the music and wearing the colors also blurred all lines between color, sound and movement.

With the strong lighting shining on them from the sides you had a scarily good dance.

There was some inconsistency in the ensemble (I did not see the opening night cast).

I didn’t love the version I saw of George Balanchine’s seminal modernist work “Apollo. ” Fabrice Calmels danced the lead – he’s extremely tall which should be a benefit, but he doesn’t dance with enough grace for me. A couple of years ago I saw the Joffrey dance “Apollo,” I think Calvin Kitten danced the lead, and he and it were superb. Fabrice always seems to be thinking about what to do next, as if the steps are not coming from his being. There’s a delay between intention and movement. So Fabrice made a fine Apollo, except when he moved.

Only the opening, with April Daly as Leto giving birth to Apollo and Fabrice stumbling to learn to walk is stunning. I’m glad the Joffrey restored that scene to the dance after Balanchine excised it. (And glad the Joffrey helped preserve “Les Presages” and “The Green Table” too.) The end of “Apollo” is a knockout, when the gd ascends the steps to Olympus. When the ballet ended I walked to the back of the theater and up a flight of steps myself, to see what it felt like.

To see the Joffrey in the Auditorium Theater, it hardly gets better than that.

They closed with “The Green Table,” which is always a heart-shattering dance. Because we never learn the lessons of war. The Green Table is perfect for these crazed times, and I’m glad the Joffrey programmed it; alas as you know it debuted before World War Two and it couldn’t make people come to their senses then. The dancers had fun with the opening and closing scenes of diplomats, and then drove home the anti-war message beautifully. The soloists and the ensemble danced with conviction; the costumes, the lighting, even the haircuts! – all rang true. Michael Levine danced Death and he made me want to run away from him as far as I could. I hear Fabrice Calmels was quite good as Death as his height and deliberation benefits him in that role.

The programming of what they call “Destiny’s Dances” (can’t they come up with a better title?) made a fascinating arc. It began with the early, nearly abstract, not very narrative “Les Presages,” to Balanchine’s “Apollo showing the birth of Modernism, to “The Green Table” – which is narrative, expressionist and very cinematic.

The Joffrey is touring, to PA, NY, Kansas City, Los Angeles and a few other cities. If they’re coming to your town, don’t miss them.

I’m glad they’re traveling, to spread the word about how good they are. That’s what they need to build their reputation and continue to attract talent. Enjoy! —

But wait there’s more! Also Now Playing in Daleyville.

Rudolf Stingel at the MCA, and at the Art Institute, two great photo shows: “When Color Was New,” and


Far from Home: Photography, Travel and Inspiration,” twentieth century photographers working away from home. Nice to see lesser-known work by well-known photographers.

And at the Art Institute is the miraculous “From Cezanne to Picasso, Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde. ” 32 glorious, vibrating, yet soothing Cezannes; Gauguin’s “D’ou venons nous?” and a room or two full of Picassos. It’s room after room of masterpieces, from Russia, Paris, New York and local.

So who could ask for more? Oh, tonight I go to the Lyric’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. It’s supposed to be overwhelming. I’ll get back to you on that.

-Edoardo

Bottom Photo of more fine modernism: Edward Weston. Washbowl, 1925 © 1981 Center for Creative Photography

02/24/2007

We will restore Mies’ 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments!

The finest, most poetic, most philosophical and aesthetically thrilling high-rise in the land.


I told you about the restoration plans here.

Now the board of trustees has passed the 7+ million dollar capital improvement plan. Thanks to Marc Boxerman, a trustee, and Don Hunt, a trustee, for their good work, and the others too.

Next we must choose the right restoration architect(s). Krueck and Sexton (scroll down) / Gunny Harboe? John Vinci?

And I’m a little sad that they’ll probably have to rip up the travertine in the lobbies. To get at leaky pipes underneath. That’s the original travertine and it feels it. Replacement is never the same. Stone, with its graining and the way it wears, gives off an energy doesn’t it? It tells a tale (and travertine knows stories all the way back to ancient Rome.) Our lobby feels more authentic than does, for example, the reconstruction of Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion.

But the travertine on the south porch of Crown Hall was redone and it feels and looks good, the Farnsworth House has been heavily restored after floods, and it feels and looks good; so it can be done, if the right person is doing it, with care. That here is our next charge.

And I’m excited to move forward with this.
-Edward

02/24/2007

We will restore Mies’ 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments!

The finest, most poetic, most philosophical and aesthetically thrilling high-rise in the land.


I told you about the restoration plans here.

Now the board of trustees has passed the 7+ million dollar capital improvement plan. Thanks to Marc Boxerman, a trustee, and Don Hunt, a trustee, for their good work, and the others too.

Next we must choose the right restoration architect(s). Krueck and Sexton (scroll down) / Gunny Harboe? John Vinci?

And I’m a little sad that they’ll probably have to rip up the travertine in the lobbies. To get at leaky pipes underneath. That’s the original travertine and it feels it. Replacement is never the same. Stone, with its graining and the way it wears, gives off an energy doesn’t it? It tells a tale (and travertine knows stories all the way back to ancient Rome.) Our lobby feels more authentic than does, for example, the reconstruction of Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion.

But the travertine on the south porch of Crown Hall was redone and it feels and looks good, the Farnsworth House has been heavily restored after floods, and it feels and looks good; so it can be done, if the right person is doing it, with care. That here is our next charge.

And I’m excited to move forward with this.
-Edward

Corb and Sullivan

02/23/2007


What does Le Corbusier’s Firminy Church in France have to do Louis Sullivan’s K.A.M. Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago?

Besides that you see they both sport a great arch.

Well, Corbu died without finishing Firminy. But the local government recognized its cultural importance and committed funds so it will stand.

In Chicago, we didn’t protect Sullivan’s church and

didn’t it burrrrnnnnn, children, talk about burn oh my Lord….


Now they want to rebuild on the site, but maybe not exactly to Sullivan’s design! That’s bone-headed. It is Louis Sullivan’s church that needs to stand on that corner on the south side of Chicago.

Rebuild it the way it was and consecrate it to culture.

The French paid to complete the unfinished Corbu church, then “consecrated it” to culture.

Read “When is a chapel not a church?
[via]

Money grafs:

“In 2003, although without enthusiasm, the local government restarted construction, but not as a chapel. It is against the law in France for the state to fund a religious building, so it is now a cultural centre with a cross on the roof.

This is a building that defines us as a world community. It is as important as the Sydney Opera House, or Bilbao’s Guggenheim, the pyramids, St Peter’s in Rome, Angkor Wat and Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Or Sullivan’s K.A.M. Pilgrim Baptist Church. So lease the land in perpetuity from the congregation, give them the church building they want, and which will better serve their needs, and turn K.A.M. Pilgrim Baptist into a cultural center to serve the memories of Sullivan, Thomas Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, gospel music and the community around it.

-Edoardo

By the way, I also like this graf from the same link, about Corbu’s Firminy:

Le Corbusier was a master at using big, tough, harsh materials softly. His genius is in the way he could provide in a single building an explanation of the human condition that contains so many histories. At Firminy, there is the original cave, the sophisticated geometries of renaissance and Gothic churches, the sculptural forms of Asia and Africa, and the simplicity of abstract modernism. Strangely, one of the world’s most beautiful chapels may never be consecrated.

The Starchitect vs. the homeless?

02/22/2007

I used to think “Starchitect” was a pejorative word. Now it’s used in marketing! Seen in a Chicago Tribune ad like this, to me it seems provincial and unfortunate.

But I’m glad to see Helmut Jahn’s name restored in Chicago. He was much-criticized here after his bathroom-colored, post-modern State of Illinois building opened in 1985. After that, and partly due to heating and cooling problems, Jahn’s talents were under-used here in his adopted hometown. Instead he designed fine, well-made, interesting structures mostly in Asia and Europe, for example Bayer AG’s new Group headquarters in Germany.


All of the work abroad by Helmut Jahn that I’ve seen is more daring, more exciting than

this new tower, 600 N. Fairbanks, that he’s designed for Chicago near the lake, near the river.

Why is Jahn’s work abroad even more interesting than it is in his adopted home town of Chicago, supposedly the world’s center of Modernism?

His

1980’s work at O’Hare airport, the terminal connecting tunnel, the airport subway stop and the United Terminal are all very nice and display his design flair.

And he has a fine recent building in Chicago –


his train-shaped steel, glass and concrete dorm at the Illinois Institute of Technology, across the street from Mies’ Crown Hall.

And very soon a similar steel, glass and concrete train-shaped form,

Near North Apartments, 96-units for homeless people, will open very near to where Chicago’s notorious public housing project Cabrini-Green recently stood.

I’d love to write the following story, I hope I’ll have time. I did a few interviews for it last night. Many of the homeless people Jahn’s SRO is meant to serve, well, when you talk to them, and ask them what kind of a house they’d like to live in, they describe a typical suburban dwelling, with pitched roof and fireplace, a few windows; when you show them Jahn’s building they don’t really “get” it. “It’s not really what I dreamed of” is what I heard, along with, “why did he use concrete on the inside?” The argument reprises society’s battles against Modernism! Stay tuned for more.
.