Archive for the ‘Cobb’ Category


Palm trees around the “Monadnock?! “

Here’s Chicago’s

And in sunny southern California, Henry Cobb will give us this

“The architecture was inspired by the Monadnock building in Chicago, built in 1893. I believe that 700 West Broadway will be elegant, characterized by calm, timeless and classic architecture that will be fresh and functional in 100 years,” he said. “It will stand with quiet authority, and be a pause in the visual landscape, a cornerstone.”
Henry Cobb, in a written statement.

Read more here. [via]

And, while we’re Monadnocking about,
here’s the original original,

Wiki says,

“the building’s name is taken from the New hampshire mountain that gave its name to the geological term indicating a freestanding mountain surrounded by a plain.”

And, how is this for high – just say yes

More on Chicago’s Monadnock here, here and here.

By the way, Mr. Cobb, with all due respect, from the above image and the video, I’m not sure I see enough Monadnock inspiration in your new building.


Has Chicago lost its way?


Our friend Blair Kamin wrote this fine article in the Tribune noting that the columns are now rising above ground for Trump Tower, on the Chicago River.

I couldn’t tell if Blair thinks the Trumpster will loom too large over the site and in oversized scale will seem to mock the great buildings around it, such as the Wrigley and Mies van der Rohe’s IBM Building. I asked Blair and he said, as he said in his article, we’ll have to wait and see.

I wish, unrealistically, that we were not going to hide 7/8ths of Mies’ great IBM perfect slab. That instead we considered it and treated like our version of Mies’ great Seagram Building in New York. We might have put a plaza in front and sloped it down to the river and had a natural access point for all citizens, rather than great views for the few who can afford to live in a Trump.

That’s not happening, and Trump will have amenities, such as a narrow riverwalk and not the world’s worst detailing (which used to be on that site;) but we are blocking what could have been a symbol for Chicago – the perfect mid-century Modernism that we did so well here, such as at the IBM building,

that the world copied us.

But life is leapfrog and maybe New York is ahead of us now.
Will we accept that?

I got to thinking, if we are going to build in front of IBM, in my dreams what would I like to see there? First I thought of something already planned for elsewhere in Chicago – the twisting, narrow Calatrava spire (which I doubt will get built on the site for which it’s proposed)

It’s slender to not block too much, the twisting shape would contrast nicely with Mies’ right angles, the white with his dark glass; in fact the ensemble would recall the futuristic 1939 World’s Fair – subsititute a perfect ‘rectangle’ for a perfect sphere.

Then my mind wandered to Norman Foster, the great British architect whose Hearst Tower in New York looks like this

Actually it looks even better in person.

So I’m thinking, a Foster could be nice if we’ve got to block the Mies.

And just a few minutes later (via ANN) I read that in New York, “Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building may be getting a new neighbor, in the form of a slender, nearly 700-foot-tall highrise building from Lord Norman Foster.” Here’s the story with a sketch in The Architect’s Newspaper.

So, are we letting New York build better than we do? We used to be the center, when monuments like IBM went up. And now? We were supposed to get a Foster, for the Hyatt Center on Wacker. After Sept. 11, 2001 it was deemed “too expensive.”

What we got, by the New Yorker Henry Cobb, is very nice, but it’s not Foster-quality, not as exciting as a Foster, and indeed, is a retread of Cobb’s EDF tower near Paris .

I think City Planners, Developers and Architects today need a version of the Hippocratic Oath. Coming next!