Month: September 2009

  • One Last Bit about the Morning Commute

    Just to wrap up the past couple posts: When North American cities were first developing, we commuted on foot.  It had its limitations, was endured during inclement weather, but gave us exercise. Various forms of mass transit came to be, which allowed for a larger commute area.  The commute in to work became something social: […]

  • Architecture in Motion

    A colleague described a project in Atlanta years ago.  It was a building sited off of an expressway.  Although the building was envisioned to have the typical sort of menu of architectural experiences – approach, enter, inhabit – it was noted that most people would experience this building differently.  Most would experience this building while […]

  • 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 […]

  • Architecture as a Machine

    Many early-modern architectural theoreticians were impressed by inventions of the machine age.  Some, like French Architect Le Corbusier, promoted the concept of architecture as a “machine for living”.  Still others, like Mies van der Rohe, spoke of the ‘machine aesthetic”. From that same historical period, one may find many examples of “architecture as a machine” […]

  • A Vacant Building in Chicago

    In writing about vacant buildings and storefronts in Oak Park, one would think that I’ve neglected to mention vacancies in Chicago.  Whenever I show friends the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park, they always ask about a darkened Venetian Gothic building across Michigan Avenue.  It’s the former Chicago Athletic Association; opened in 1894, architect Henry Ives […]

  • A Tale of Two Cities – the Skyscraper and the Suburb

    The Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park Oak Park, Illinois is known throughout the world for its revolutionary architecture that defined the American suburb.  From his Oak Park studio on Chicago Avenue, Frank Lloyd Wright and his entourage created the suburban home format on a basic grid-iron layout of streets; they developed an entirely new […]

  • A Courtyard Alley in Chicago’s Loop

    In the hunt for more unknown spots in Chicago; one such place covered during my “Secret Streets” presentation during Great Chicago Places and Spaces this year was 22 East Jackson Boulevard.  At one time, it was better known as “Pickwick Place”. Historical View, Pickwick Place (image from Dennis McClendon) While seemingly a public right-of-way, Pickwick […]

  • Walkable Alleys of Oak Park and Elsewhere

    When Chicago was initially laid out in the mid 1800’s, it was surveyed with relatively shallow lots meant to support smaller, wood frame houses.  There were no alleys, since there were lots of streets around.  After the Great Fire, every second street was widened; the narrower streets came to be known as “addressable alleys”.  They […]

  • Old hockey rinks can never die…

    A recent story in the Calgary Herald spoke of plans to build a new venue for the Calgary Flames, quoting Calgary Flames President and CEO, Ken King, as saying that the Saddledome was the sixth oldest venue in the National Hockey League. Time flies.  It’s not that long ago – 1983 to be exact – […]

  • Manitobans and Modernists from both parts of the Twentieth Century

    The University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture has held an annual Chicago Field Trip for a very long time.  I’ve heard first hand accounts of the field trips that occurred during the 1940’s; I gather that they’ve been going on prior to that.  For the past couple years, I’ve been honoured to have made presentations […]