Sunday, July 19, 2009

ARCHITECTURAL CRITICISM. Chicago Style. Hold the Ketchup.

Root's ROOKERY "good" ..................................Burnham's PEOPLE'S "bad"..........................
If one is a part of Chicago's Architectural "Critical Framework" it is de riguer to criticize Daniel Burnham's Architecture (in this HIS centennial) and to praise Louis Sullivan and the Chicago School. Almost as if Sullivan's worth relies on Burnham's denigration. Even Lynn Becker, who occasionally speaks from what I thought was a "heart", who describes himself as the guy at the end of the bar spouting (truth) to the air, chimes in with perfect timing in his little article titled "An Odd Way........." published 07.16 in the CHICAGO READER. Quoting the Critic Becker directly, "genius had abandoned Burnham and the years to come also produced such curiosities as the pompous People's Gas Building." The sentence could have been " by 1912 Burnham had assembled a powerful and dedicated team of talent who believed so strongly in the conceptual value of the 1909 Plan of Chicago that both City Planning and Architecture in Chicago for the next 20 years could be traced directly to Burnham's genius and inspiration. At the time of Burnham's death, plans were underway for what would become the iconic Field Museum. And immediate groundwork had been laid for Chicago's Union Station. Louis Sullivan, on the the other hand, was in Iowa. CEDAR RAPIDS, I believe.

Now I appreciate interesting ornament as much as the next guy. And Sullivan's is good. But if its MY birthday, I kinda think that the cake should be for me. And this year, its Dan's. JZHEEEZ. PLEASE.

On the other hand, if you want to talk "POMPOUS" - and I can talk "POMPOUS" - look to Sullivan's doo-dads at the top of the Gage Building. If you want talk "POMPOUS," let's talk about Zaha Hadid in Millenium Park. Ooops. Becker and I agree on that one. And one thing more on which we can all agree -- no one can match the consistently incisive writing in Lynn Becker's ArchitectureChicago Plus'. And that for the most part, "Odd Way", after all, is a broad ranging , truly insightful piece.
And "Highly Recommended". Except for the areas in which I disagree. :-)
Now for some other good stuff, in this year of Daniel Burnham's Plan Centennial. The Insurance Exchange, ironically dated 1912, after the genius had left....... will be the subject of our next post.

No comments:

Post a Comment