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urbanjames

chicago - may of 2005

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urbanjames    0

so, last may i was in chicago for a few days... the photos here are from millennium park, the loop and the southport neighborhood...

we stayed at the palmer house hilton over the weekend... i was a little leery about staying in the loop on the weekend, since i figured that the loop empties out outside of business hours... i was partially right, but there seems to be a lot more activity in the loop on the weekend than i remember... here are the elevator doors at the palmer house hilton

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this was the first time i had been to chicago since millennium park was completed (well, ALMOST completed), though the "jelly bean" was under cover, so i didn't get to see that... i was most impressed by the crown fountain which is very people friendly and interactive... too much of our public space is designed to be looked at but not touched... the fountain encourages people (especially children) to play in and around it... and there are seats all the way around for people-watching...

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the bandshell and the bridge, both designed by frank gehry, are interesting in a post-industrial way... i think, however, that the "celebrity architect" phenomenon is actually hurting architectural progress

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chicago has, in my mind, been the trailblazer for american architecture and a walk through the loop is like a history lesson in the evolution of the skyscraper... while the modern skyscrapers and their surrounding public spaces can be a little "soulless" at times, the public art helps to add some whimsy

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for me, chicago is all about being "solid" and "functional"... by that i mean that chicago doesn't seem to do things in a half-assed way... the buildings are solid, the people are solid (you can't survive that winter if you aren't), the infrastructure is solid... and in general, things aren't "flashy" just for the sake of being flashy... things in chicago are designed first and foremost for a function... "grace" isn't a word often associated with chicago, but that doesn't mean it's not beautiful...

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check out part 2 for some pics of the el and southport

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