A gallery of rogues

A gallery of rogues

There are 63 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jan 27, 2008, titled A gallery of rogues. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

There is the ideal Chicago, the showcase city glimpsed on the Chicago River boat tour that glides past the Wrigley Building and other glorious skyscrapers.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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United States

#2 Jan 27, 2008
Mr. Kamin, you're just bitter. Not every building is going to be a masterpiece, even if we could all agree on how to define what that is.

Elmhurst, IL

#3 Jan 27, 2008
Kamin is right. There are too many dissapointingly ugly buildings that could have been so much nicer. When I look at some of the buildings out there, I'm always amazed that at some point, supposedly intelligent people actually say the renderings and said "Yeah, that looks great".

Brininstool + Lynch is a "little known" firm but they are doing great stuff, including a building just North of Avenue East...550 St. Clair, which is just a condo building but is quietly elegant and really shows what a little though can produce.

Louisville, KY

#4 Jan 27, 2008
"Precious few of them are masterpieces"

That's for sure!
Although, Mr. Kamin needs to add 340 On The Park to the list--it's hideous! Its visual rhythm is a mess and is discordant with its neighbors, particularly the Aon building. Doesn't the design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz understand scale?! Unfortunatelty it's a tree that can't be lost in the forest. Yuck

United States

#5 Jan 27, 2008
Kamin is not bitter, imo. He's a critic doing his job. There are way too many mediocre buildings that have had a negative impact on the streetscape, but perhaps more importantly, on the livability of the areas in which they are located. There are many high quality architectural firms in Chicago, but too many are willing to take the $$ and run. Cases in point at the extreme end are Pappageorge/Haymes and Lowenberg. For them, it seems to be a case of nothing but the $$$. At the other end are Jahn, Perkins & Will, SOM, Gang, Brinstool & Lynch, Krueck & Sexton, Farr & Ass., Ronan, & Garofalo, among others. They seem to work hard to convince clients to do quality buildings as much as possible. I have to say, I don't agree with Cityview above. 340 on the Park is a fairly distinguished building that honorably takes its place along the north streetwall of Grant Park. His criticism of it makes little sense to me. It seems like he is attacking the building for not being taller. If that is his criticism, then all I can say is "How narrow a perspective."

Redwood Estates, CA

#7 Jan 27, 2008
I've lived in Chicago all my life - 30 years on the south side and the same on the north side.
There are places I've seen - new developments on S. State and environs and S. Michigan which don't even feel like this city anymore.
Its like being in L.A. or Houston. Just horrible, cold "anywhere"buildings. Very depressing.
Seth Blumenthal

Chicago, IL

#8 Jan 27, 2008
I live in 300 N Canal. What would you have wanted it to look like? Is it less attractive than the parking lot, or the Braun Bottles plant before, that occupied this space?

Louisville, KY

#9 Jan 27, 2008
prairterr wrote:
... have to say, I don't agree with Cityview above. 340 on the Park is a fairly distinguished building that honorably takes its place along the north streetwall of Grant Park. His criticism of it makes little sense to me. It seems like he is attacking the building for not being taller. If that is his criticism, then all I can say is "How narrow a perspective."

The white sectioning of the building visually changes its scale and makes it relate poorly to its neighbors. I certainly don't wish for it to be taller.

Elmhurst, IL

#10 Jan 27, 2008
No mention of the Presidental Towers here? They must be too old then, their ugliness accepted
Thomas Westgard

United States

#11 Jan 28, 2008
This article is like a tmz.com for architecture, telling us about the drunken starlets of the architecture world. Maybe you should hire some arch-arazzi to stalk the starchitects and photograph them skinny dipping in the lake.
ed s


#12 Jan 28, 2008
famous quotes architects use goes something like this: "at least brain surgeons can bury their mistakes.."
rob vg-r

United States

#13 Jan 28, 2008
Soldier Field anyone?
BoBo Montoya

United States

#14 Jan 28, 2008
720 West Randolph (CityViewTower) Communist Russia Meets Schaumberg Mental Health Center. Constructed by noted Institutional Builder Pepper Construction (architect unknown), this Lucky 13 Story Tower (units of which still haven't been sold in four years) has the interior and exterior look and feel of a psych hospital closed for lack of results. Totally devoid of humanity, and without any other nearby residential building, its sole redeeming feature is a spectacular view to the east, which is marred by the incessant roar of traffic directly below on the Kennedy expressway. Bartender, give me some exhasut fumes with my appletini--the perfect counterpoint to hip trendy oxygen bars.

Blountstown, FL

#15 Jan 28, 2008
I live at 3470 N LSD - what does Blair think of this building?
My Opinion

Wilmette, IL

#16 Jan 28, 2008
Where's the grace and grandeur Chicago tall buildings were know for?
Reverand Bob Jones

United States

#17 Jan 28, 2008
340 On the Park (340 East Randolph) is a clearly superior building that resonates from the core outward. It has magnificent function that is tethered to the Wintergaarden on the 25th floor. True, the exterior is vaguely reminiscent of a Gillette Trac 3 Razor package, but the overall look and feel of the building is fresh. Yes, Aon was there first, but my sense is that were 340 there first, AON would be the one that was criticized. And please keep in mind that 340's design was limited by its immediate neighbor to the west, the Blue Cross Blue Shield building.
No kidding

Montvale, NJ

#18 Jan 28, 2008
You left out the Sandburg Village highrises...those buildings are ugly!
Jobe The Builder

United States

#19 Jan 28, 2008
When I read Mr. Kamin's smarmy criticism of anybody's work, I cannot help but think of his column that supported building an extension of Lake Shore Drive all the way up to Evanston. Currently Rogers Park has the most livable, community friendly patch of Lake Amenities between Pratt and Touhy. It is an area where aging beleaguered immigrants from East Europe, every type of idiosyncratic American, and other immigrants from throughout the world (making Rogers Park the most ethnically diverse community in the US outside of some areas of Brooklyn) mingle freely. Its primary park is the scene of true racial integration where children and adults from all racial and ethnic creeds play the same sport at the same time. Blairís solution? Pave it over. Perhaps the job cuts at the Sun Times should be emulated at the Tribune. Simply put, a retrospective of Mr. Kamin's work simply indicates that he simply fails to understand people and really only grasps part of what makes wonderful architecture focusing merely on the outside and what was there before. History will not judge Mr. Kamin kindly.
George Tomek

Edmond, OK

#20 Jan 28, 2008
Chicago is the greatest city in the world, but how about all of the buildings that have been razed over the years in the name of "progess." A good place to start looking is a compilation of them in book form called "Lost Chicago" by David Lowe. By the way, Chicago is hardly alone in this unfortunate drive oward "progress." A good companion book is "Lost in New York" by Nathan Silver.

United States

#21 Jan 28, 2008
What about the "modern" residential high rises in Hyde Park? I can't think of one that isn't hideous. The Newport? Regents Park? And in the metro area that "thing" of condos across the Edens from Old Orchard? Not terribly ugly in and of itself, but it completely jars with its surroundings.
Have a Good Day

United States

#22 Jan 28, 2008
The Illinois Center on Michigan Ave is a cluster of clunkers.

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