Archive for the ‘Dan Coffey’ Category


A shame what they’re doing to Evanston, isn’t it?

Nice graf by Robert Campbell in the Boston Globe this morning:

I’m not an opponent of skyscrapers. They can be wonderful examples of human aspiration and exuberance. In a city, they’re a sort of natural plant species, sprouting wherever they can get purchase, as opposed to the tame formal parterres of a designed garden. They are welcome exactly up to the point where they begin to choke out other forms of life.

So if you’re interested in why the towers sprouting in Evanston are wrong for that heretofore humanist, leafy, wooden, Queen Anne kind of place -is Oak Park next?- read Robert Campbell’s article in today’s Boston Globe. (via ANN. Queen Ann? :))

Or go back a few years. To “The tall office building artistically considered,”
by Louis Sullivan, 110 years ago.

“Problem: How shall we impart to this sterile pile, this crude, harsh, brutal agglomeration, this stark, staring exclamation of eternal strife, the graciousness of those higher forms of sensibility and culture that rest on the lower and fiercer passions? How shall we proclaim from the dizzy height of this strange, weird, modern housetop the peaceful evangel of sentiment, of beauty, the cult of a higher life?

And part of his answer was:

…when we know and feel that Nature is our friend, not our implacable enemy,-that an afternoon in the country, an hour by the sea, a full open view of one single day, through dawn, high noon, and twilight, will suggest to us so much that is rhythmical, deep, and eternal in the vast art of architecture, something so deep, so true, that all the narrow formalities, hard-and-fast rules, and strangling bonds of the schools cannot stifle it in us,-then it may be proclaimed that we are on the high-road to a natural and satisfying art, an architecture that will soon become a fine art in the true, the best sense of the word, an art that will live because it will be of the people, for the people, and by the people.”

I love this part too,

“…it is lofty. This loftiness is to the artist-nature its thrilling aspect. It is the very open organ-tone in its appeal. It must be in turn the dominant chord in his expression of it, the true excitant of his imagination. It must be tall, every inch of it tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line,-that it is the new, the unexpected, the eloquent peroration of most bald, most sinister, most forbidding conditions.”

Boy, the more you read Sullivan, the more you see he’s the equal of Whitman, Thoreau, and Emerson. And he could design pretty good buildings.

But I also needed this last graf to aesthetically, make this post, tall, tall, tall. With a top, a middle, and a base. As nature (and Sullivan) would have it. Exalt in its beauty!

So here’s “the base” of this designed blogpost. Complete with photos.
The more you think about it, the more Evanston is erecting bad imitations of Sullivan. To wit (or witless):

L- Carson’s. R- Hilton Garden Inn, Evanston

L- A Sullivan small town bank. R- Research Park, Evanston

Which do you prefer? jk