Category: Current Affairs

  • The Shrinking City

    A recent presentation by the President of CEO’s for Cities to the Association of Architecture Organizations spoke of major trends affecting cities, and described scenarios for growing – and shrinking – cities.  The concept of shrinking cities struck a particular note.  Anyone familiar with the United States will immediately think of Detroit or a variety […]

  • Tall Buildings Fall Short

    A recent news report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat cites fifty major, tall building projects worldwide that have been halted by a global economic downturn. Last Friday, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s “Chicago Model City” exhibit temporarily included the scale model of Santiago Calatrava’s “Spire” condominium project, the real one being on […]

  • The Hanna Roundhouse, and Memories from One’s Past

    Many years ago, having just arrived in Washington, DC for my tenure but realizing that I was a long ways from home; an issue of the Minnesota Architect crossed my desk.  The feature story was a photo essay about wooden grain elevators; the front cover photograph was of the “nine in a line” grain elevators […]

  • Burnham Plan of Chicago, and the Future of the American Metropolis

    This is the last week for the Burnham Pavilions on display at Millennium Park in Chicago.  They were meant as temporary exhibits and with the coming onslaught of a Chicago winter, it’s probably time.  The Burnham Pavilions (see previous posts) were constructed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Plan of 1909, sometimes referred […]

  • It’s Autumn

    Glowing Trees Waking up on an overcast morning, the multi-hued tree leaves were irredescent.  They glowed, and spilt a dazzling display of colour into a darkened interior space.

  • The Single Level Largesse

    In a quest to directly avoid any specifically Olympics related topics today… Recently, the Oak Park YMCA recently announced cancellation of its plans to move from its older, multi level facility in the middle of Oak Park, to a sprawling single level facility in a nearby town.  Fundraising in this economic environment wasn’t going as […]

  • Is your morning commute still fun to drive?

    Time was, driving was a fun recreation.  From a casual Sunday excursion, to a cross country trip, to something energetic like Nascar racing, the experience generated by being catapulted through ever changing scenery was exciting. Automotive design enhanced the experience. Swooping masses of sheet metal clad in bright colours, outlined in shiny chrome, housed behemoth […]

  • A River Runs Through It, and the Malibu Supper Club

    I used to fly out of Gallatin Field in Belgrade, Montana quite a bit as a student.  During my terms of office with the American Institute of Architecture Students, Gallatin Field became a regular point of departure / point of entry for trips to the east coast and other points.  My alma mater, Montana State […]

  • More Walls Talking – Vacant Storefronts

    The current economic doldrums have brought out all sorts of vacant storefronts – not just a tell tale of the economy, but a fascinating take on urban anthropology. At first glance, they would indicate that the economy is down, that the activity that previously existed at that location fell victim to a recession.  Any retail […]

  • US / Canada Rail Infrastructure Luncheon

    Yesterday, I attended the US / Canada “Pay the Freight” Rail Infrastructure luncheon presentation, presented jointly by the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Consulate General of Canada and the Union League Club of Chicago, where the luncheon was held. The Union League is a tremendous venue for events like this – centrally located, spacious facilities and […]