Archive for January, 2008

Tell your city leaders:


Men do not love Rome because she is beautiful,

Rome is beautiful because men have loved her.

—Leopold Kohr [via]

Is it Donald Judd, or is it Walmart? ————– Take this test!


Take the test here. I would like to say I nailed this at 100%.

But I didn’t.


Save the Spiral Jetty


It’s threatened, by oil drilling!

Tyler writes,

The comment period has been extended by the Utah government to Feb. 13.

If you want to send a letter of protest to save the beautiful, natural Utah environment around the Spiral Jetty from oil drilling, the emails or calls of protest go to Jonathan Jemming 801-537-9023 Please refer to Application # 8853. Every letter makes a big difference, they do take a lot of notice and know that publicity may follow. Since (artist Robert Smithson’s) Spiral Jetty has global significance, emails from foreign countries would be of special value.

Please do. Help straighten out those who would desecrate the Spiral Jetty.

The difference between Calatrava’s Chicago Spire and a hole in the ground


A photo taken not long ago of the construction site in Chicago by Lake Michigan and the river for Santiago Calatrava’s spire. Work is progressing. And it looks like specific work for this specific project, not just caissons that could be used for anything built on the site.

How will the downturn in the housing market and in the world’s economy affect this project – which was always “iffy?” Do such mundane matters affect those who might consider buying here?

I’ll still be surprised – pleasantly – if it goes up, looking like this.

Also in the photo at the top you can see work being done on DuSable Park. Another cause for celebration.

Mies’ IBM slated for Chicago city landmark status


It doesn’t look quite the same, and you can’t see it as well as you used to, but at least it’ll be a landmark!

We’ve blocked the best view, and desecrated the lobby,

but at least now the Chicago City Council’s Landmarks Committee has approved landmark designation for the 52-story tower at 330 N. Wabash that is the last and tallest American office building designed by Mies and his firm.

Until recently, this was its command over the city.

The other good news is that you’ll be able to spend a night in it.
Floors 2 through 14 will be a 335 room luxury hotel.

Today’s article says,

Completed in 1972, the IBM building is now 30 percent vacant and in desperate need of a face-lift. It’s located across the street from Trump Tower, a 92-story tower that has blocked the IBM building’s once-unobstructed views of Lake Michigan (and the Chicago River).

The new Seoul?


Is the teardrop shape for the old soul?

Elegant though. The tallest would be 152 stories. Ready for you in 2016.


Our TV gods immortalized. Happy Days! —— The Bronze Fonz


Speaking of Milwaukee,

These days the biggest buzz in Brew City, now that the Packers are out of contention for the Super Bowl, is that the convention and visitors bureau will commission a bronze statue for downtown. It will immortalize for all time, “the Fonz.” He’s the TV character from “Happy Days” – Arthur Fonzarelli.

The “Bronze Fonz” will be installed downtown, not too far from Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum, which I thought sought to raise the cultural profile of the midwestern city (that my parents left for Chicago).

From a Milwaukee Journal columnist,

“Irritating the snobby arbiters of serious art is not the only good reason to erect a Fonzie statue downtown.”

And from the paper’s new arts, architecture and visual design critic,

“What is harmful and deeply sad about this is that [the city’s convention and visitors bureau] has reduced Milwaukee to a bit of trivia.”

Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie, was on Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue Mall for the big announcement that the bureau raised the required $85,000, and the sculpture should be unveiled in late summer.

This reminds me of the statue of Bob Newhart in Chicago and Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis.

A cynic might say these statues of the gods of TV are just to boost tourism.

But I think we’re showing the youth of today what is important to their parents.

Milwaukee’s new architecture and urban design critic asks you to tell her how to do her job


And only in Milwaukee would a critic give out a phone number with the hours to call! MJS follows the venerable Whitney Gould..

"A wounded house"


A beautifully written New York Times story on a desecration of a farmhouse that belonged to poet Robert Frost.

Maybe it strikes me because I’ve just been traipsing through snowy Vermont woods; and because many years ago, newly in innocent love, I visited the Frost farm, and found it a gentle place.

Perhaps the real “culture war” in this country is not between left and right, but between people with some enlightenment, and people without enough.

Here’s another fine Dan Barry column titled, “A Place Just Like Every Other Place. Only Not.”

And check out the equally moving photographs in the slideshows by Ángel Franco.

They travel and work together to produce the New York Times column “This Land.”


Photo: Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Send a MoMA e-card!


Alvar Aalto. Paimio Chair. 1931-32. Bent plywood, bent laminated birch, and solid birch.
Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.