Showing posts with label AIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AIA. Show all posts

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Jubilant American Summer, Part Two

Prairie and Pattern
in the middle of Chicago
I have always been crazy for world-class architecture. For years, I have daydreamed about taking my children on the super-popular CAF (Chicago Architecture Foundation) river cruise celebrating Chicago’s architecture.  I have always daydreamed about taking them to see all of the Frank Lloyd Wright sites in Oak Park,Illinois. I have also never been to see the Bahai Temple in Wilmette, Illinois, for example. I would love for my children to see the Bahai Temple there to celebrate, not only the architecture, but the diversity of America’s religious expression. I didn’t get that ‘Chicago architecture daydream’ done in their formative years. This was my chance!
Approaching the
James R.Thompson Center,
formerly known as
the State of Illinois Building,
designed by Murphy/Helmut Jahn.
Notice the Jean Dubuffet sculpture
in front of the building.
Light abounds at this intersection
since the building leans back
from the intersection.
Inside, the open, awe-inspiring
atrium is designed to communicate
"an open government in action."
A 'dome,' a fixture of so many
sacred and governmental buildings,
was instead, modeled
into the floor
in tile.
The sculpture
"Monument with Standing Beast"
by French sculptor Jean Dubuffet
invites a feeling of play
from all passing pedestrians
regardless of age.
The State of Illinois
set aside 0.05% of building cost
for public art.

I love public art programs
and was a inaugural board member
of my city's public art board
in my hometown.
Living in Chicago for the summer gave me an opportunity to plan an architecture outing. It allowed me the chance to join the Chicago Architecture Foundation and to experience the amazing community of architecture enthusiasts that has developed in the city.
 The untitled Picasso sculpture
was the first significant public art
in downtown Chicago.
Kids love to run up and down it.
The story goes that it was inspired
by a woman with a great pony-tail that
Picasso was dating
at the time.
When I first walked into the Chicago Architecture Foundation retail store and meeting point, I started crying. I am sure they thought I was nuts. I was just so moved! This is how life is meant to be!

Imagine, there are thousands of people all over the world who join the Chicago Architecture Foundation to celebrate, enjoy, mull over,discuss, and preserve Chicago’s architectural heritage. Chicago is the home of the world’s first skyscraper, has a spectacular master plan designed by Daniel Burnham due to the Chicago Fire in 1878 that leveled much of the city, and 18 miles of gorgeous beachfront that is open to the public thanks to great urban planning and Montgomery Ward's leadership in the 1920s.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s mission is “to inspire people to discover why design matters.”  In 1966, preservation enthusiasts got together to save a private Chicago residence, the Glessner House, from destruction. Their success led people from across disciplines to form an organization devoted to sharing this enthusiasm for great design. Since then, it has grown into a group with a $17 million budget and 9,700 members. 450 volunteer tour leaders led 6,395 tour departures last year celebrating architecture with 319,661 people.  A whopping 1,367 volunteers put on their annual October Open House showcasing architectural treasures across the city over the course of one weekend.

It’s such a great value too, to become a CAF member. Members can go on 62 different walking tours for free. Yes, I said, 62 FREE walking tours! Members are able to buy tickets to the architectural river cruise at 2 for 1, or 4 for 2 pricing, plus members get discounts in the retail shop, on boat, bicycle, bus, and Segway tours, free attendance at lunch and evening programs, and free passes to all exhibitions. Plus, if one were living in the city long-term, what a joy it would be to develop community with like-minded, design-enthused people. Priceless!

The organization is so successful, it has started a sister organization just to help people who ask, “how could I get one of these architectural foundations started in my city?” I thought many times during the summer, how useful an Istanbul Architectural Foundation would be, now, at a time when the whole city seems up for grabs for construction with nary a thought to the archaeological value of some sites.

Having an organized, committed, educated Istanbul architectural foundation with a budget , a network of communication, and institutional heft could make a difference. Far easier for design enthusiasts to work through institutional power, rather than through the street protests that have resulted in tear gas, arrests, and deaths for individuals who care about the future of their city.
The world's tallest skyscraper
designed by a woman,
the 82-story mixed use
Aqua Tower
designed by Chicago's
Jeanne Gang
of Studio Gang Architects
Notice the amenities for residents
built into the base of the building:
a jogging track, swimming pool,
parks and underground parking.
 A park and school
 are part of the complex.
Since Millennium Park was built,
one block away,
the residential units
available in this area
have exponentially increased.
I'm encouraged that
the world's tallest skyscraper
has been built by a woman
from Midwestern America,
 in Midwestern America.
I also especially appreciated the CAF’s focus on women architects. The Foundation works to publicize the gap between the number of women who graduate with an architectural degree and the number who are actually working as architects. There’s a 32% gap. There were exhibitions about women architects, and bus tours around the city showcasing female-designed buildings (always sold out).  The CAF, and a sister organization, the Chicago Women in Architecture (CAW) serve as cheerleaders for female design accomplishment.

One local woman from Northern Illinois was the lead architect on the world’s tallest female-designed skyscraper to date: Jeanne Gang. Another Chicago institution, the MacArthur Foundation, has also nurtured her talent with one of their famous “Genius Grants.” The grant is a one-time gift of $625,000 with no strings attached to use how the recipient wants. Gosh, I loved learning about her and seeing her building. Is it any wonder Chicago is the place where female-led design has pushed the boundaries?
Enjoying the
Chicago Architecture Foundation
River Cruise
with my family
I had one very special day with my children celebrating magnificent design. Daughter #1 and her husband drove down from Wisconsin for the day. The two of them, my youngest daughter and I took an CAF architectural river cruise and saw the city from the point-of-view of the river.
Kayakers check out
the Chicago River's
future riverwalk
We were awed by the design challenges of particular buildings, the story about how the flow of the Chicago River was reversed, and the industrial histories of Sears and Montgomery Wards and their impact on the city.
 The engineering challenges met
on the construction
of the Boeing Building were
particularly impressive
Chicago leads the world in most number of moveable river bridges. So far, the river's infrastructure benefits boats and cars. It’s exciting to see that Chicago’s next big civic design push is inspired by San Antonio, creating a future pedestrian river walk for citizens to enjoy.
Bertrand Goldberg's "River City,"
affectionately known
as the "eyebrow" building
for the fun shape of the windows.
Notice the boat parking underneath.
Our tour guide noted with a bemused laugh that the Chicago River has been upgraded from ‘toxic’ to merely ‘polluted.’ She told stories about how Chicagoans of old used to dispose of their dead horses by dumping them into the river. I can’t wait to see the day when the river becomes romantic rather than wretching (well, at least that story was, the river itself looks fine). Go, Chicago, go!
What a view!
The view from the 16th floor terrace
of Trump International Tower
After our architectural river cruise, my family took me out for a seafood lunch to celebrate my birthday, and then we went to the newly designed Trump International Tower for a drink. I’m no fan of Trump’s politics, but I was completely impressed with what he had built in Chicago, beginning with securing the lot upon which his skyscraper was built. The lot alone speaks to his power. How did he secure this exquisite piece of land? It has a dead-ahead view of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and a view of the Wrigley Building to the left.
The Trump International Tower
from the Chicago River
On 9/11/2001, Donald Trump was in a meeting with his architect Adrian Smith, who was with the globally-famous architectural design firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, at the time of the design. Trump and Smith were planning to build a skyscraper that would be Chicago’s tallest building. For obvious reasons, Trump decided against this.  If the building Trump built is any less magnificent than what he had planned, I could not see how. It is sleek, sexy, and timeless, particularly before Donald Trump decided to unnecessarily add his name to the building. We all knew it was yours, Donald.  It was unnecessary to 'trump'-it this. 
 Selfies with my youngest
What a special moment
it was to enjoy this view
with my family
 What an uplifting view! All around us were wedding parties, gussied up and looking pretty, celebrating their special day.  As one of my friends said about the pricy drinks, “you just have to drink your drink very slowly.” Yes, the drinks were expensive, but no more than Istanbul, with its sky-high alcohol taxes.
Art Deco
Elevator Doors
at the
Chicago Board of Trade
I tried to do at least three of the free CAF walking tours each week while I was in Chicago. Because, these tours were so incredible, I didn’t have time to see many of the amazing ‘secondary’ attractions that Chicago boasts of that I would also like to see: Jane Addams’ Hull House museum, the Oriental Art Institute (which I would really now appreciate having lived in Turkey), the Glessner House, whose imminent destruction in the 1960s lead to the creation of the CAF, the Pritzker Military Library (another architectural gem), and on and on the list goes. Chicago in INCREDIBLE.
My favorite building discovery
of the summer
was the Marquette Building,
built in 1895,
and designed by
Holabird and Roche.

It has steel-frame architecture
and is considered
one of the best examples of
the "Chicago School of Architecture."

The building celebrates the voyage of Frenchman
and priest Jacques Marquette,
the first European settler in Chicago.
 He explored the Chicago River in 1674.
Notice the bas-relief sculpture
over the entrance that celebrates
Marquette's exploration of the Great Lakes,
including, in the far right panel, his burial.

The Marquette Building is currently home
to the John D. and Catherine
MacArthur Foundation,
the people who make the
Genius Grants every year.
That foundation did an extensive renovation
of this imaginative, wonderfully-American gem.
Marquette's expedition
is recreated in
Tiffany glass murals
surrounding the atrium.
I found this absolutely thrilling!
Yes, people, that is a tomahawk
on a brass door.
Elsewhere there were peace pipes
in the brass panel fittings.
You aren't going to see a building like this
anywhere in Europe.
Expedition members were highlighted
on all sides of the atrium.
How cool is that? 
It made me wonder why more history
isn't highlighted more in architectural buildings.
It helped me recognize
architecture's ability to teach,
awakening interest in history,
not just design.
A teacher could have a field day
with the institutionalized racism
captured in this description of Marquette, 
as the "discoverer" of a river
Native Americans
were using on a daily basis.
It's so fantastic this
dated thinking is preserved.
We see not only the good,
but the limits of generations
who proceeded us.
I also did not get every site seen on my family field-trip daydream. Next time, I’ll have to take my girls to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and Ernest Hemingway’s home in Oak Park. We'll drive out to Wilmette to see the Bahai House. I’ve added tons more sites I would love to see, especially houses of worship. There were so many gospel services, jazz services, and classical music worship services in incredible looking buildings. I wanted to get to them all!

When I consider the impact of the Foundation, it really didn’t take that many people to change the world. So often, global challenges seem so overwhelming.  It seems they require such large sums of money and large groups of people. A person could be forgiven for thinking they seem impossible. Yet, the CAF started with one project, and then undertook another, and it started growing. In forty years, using the good will and hard work of around 10,000 souls a year, they are producing world-class results. That seems so achievable. What exciting project could your good will and hard work enable?

Thank you, Chicago Architectural Foundation, for an inspiring summer of celebrating |"why design matters."
You gave me my very favorite experiences of "My Jubilant American Summer" in 2014!

Readers, I just realized I've written 63 other posts about architecture. You might enjoy them. Here are a few of my favorites:

In Illinois:

"Make No Little Plans..."

"America's Favorite Architecture"

|"America's Finest Example of Prairie-School Architecture"

"A Living Tribute to Abraham Lincoln"

"Why the Obama Presidential Library Should be Built in Springfield, Illinois"

In Prague:

"Was Living in Soviet Housing on my Bucket List?"

"Art Deco Elegance in Old Town Prague"

"I Needed Some Cash In My New Neighborhood"

Pavel's Prague, Part Two, The Grand Orient Cafe

In Istanbul:

An Afternoon of Art and Beauty at the Borusan Contemporary, Part One

Topkapi Palace, Part One

For My Jubilant American Summer, Part One, click here

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A near spiritual experience at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas

The stately
Central High School in
Little Rock, Arkansas

Chosen as "the most beautiful high school"
in America the year it was built
by the American Institute of Architects

When my girls and I decided to go down to Little Rock, Arkansas to see the Clinton Presidential Library, I went to to see what else there was to do in Little Rock. I was surprised to see that the Presidential Library was actually rated #2 on the list of things to do.

What people had rated even higher was going to see the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and Visitor's Center, where the gigantic American desegregation battle got a very visible push in 1957. As a lifelong learner, history buff, and former grade school student in the years that followed, I thought my family should devote a day of our trip to see it.
The building itself is so wonderfully grand.
A mix of Art Deco and Gothic Revival styles.

You can see why anyone
would want their child to attend this school.

You can also see why any teenager
would want to attend this school.

It's a universal desire, isn't it?
To go to a good school.

Little Rock Central High School is recognized for the role it played in the desegregation of public schools in the United States.  The admission of nine African-American students to the formerly all-white Central High School was the most prominent national example of the implementation of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
We caught a tour just beginning
for tweens and teens
at the Visitor's Center
We tagged along with a tour by the park ranger for a group of Arkansas school kids because the reviewers on Tripadvisor had raved about the park ranger-led tours. As Brian Schwieger, our tour guide began to tell the story of what happened in Little Rock, I was awed by what superb metaphors he used for explaining the thoughts and roles of all involved in a way that didn't demonize them.

The park ranger asked, "have you ever had to share with your brother or sister and you didn't want to? That's kind of how the folks felt who protested the integration of this school." Everyone instantly understood that feeling.

Then he asked, "how many of you are married? When you get married, you're forming a union. Imagine all the ways we have to change when we get married. Some times, we have to compromise and do what we don't want to do. To form a more perfect union, each person has to give up a little of life the way they knew it before to create something even stronger and better in a union. When I got married I had to start doing a few more chores or going to bed earlier or doing things that help both of us succeed. This is how we formed a more perfect union.

He continued, "integration and sharing schools was deemed one of the ways America could form a more perfect union. Separate and equal schools did not end up being equal and without changing we would have a less perfect union."  These were such perfect analogies! Every kid there could relate to these metaphors.
Our ranger
telling us about Elizabeth Eckford,
the young woman who faced
the crowds alone.

I was shocked to learn that the 1957 crowd who assembled to prevent integration hadn't done that on their own but had actually been incited into it by a Governor who took control over local decision-making and directly challenged the Federal Government's authority to tell school boards to integrate. The Governor called in the National Guard to supposedly "protect" the students, but really it was to prevent their admission. That stunned me.

Governor Faubus did it because he faced an upcoming election challenge from someone more conservative than he and he wanted to be proactive about presenting a tough face on the subject of integration. But what Governor in their right mind would take on the WWII hero and President, Dwight Eisenhower?

The park ranger then told the story of local heroine named Daisy Bates, who had been president of the local NAACP chapter and a publisher of a newspaper widely-read in the black community. She was the adult who helped choose which teenagers would take on the daunting task of integrating the school. She also was the supporting adult for the Little Rock Nine.
Before the days of cell phones
and Twitter, the national press
had to call in the story on a pay phone
from this gas station
across the street from the school.
The actual first day of integration was delayed one day. Ms. Bates was able to reach all of the students to tell them to stay home, except for one young woman who didn't have a phone and showed up for school all by herself. The tour really helped me imagine what that young woman went through. When I listened to her story, I wept. I could not be more thankful for brave people like this young woman who dealt with all of the disorder and hate that day.
The gas station has been preserved as it was then
and will be turned into a classroom
for visiting field trips.
The tour made me so thankful for President Dwight Eisenhower who called in overwhelming force (the 101st Airborne) to get the job of integrating nine students done. I was shocked that Governor Faubus would even think of taking on the man who was the Supreme Allied Commander in charge of defeating the Nazis now that the General was President. Did the Governor honestly think he would be successful?

Governor Faubus, not only did not want to implement this desegregation but he actually closed the school in the following year, just to spite the President and the Federal Government. So now he was wrecking everyone's high school years, black and white alike! I wondered what would have happened if we had had a different President who wasn't as comfortable using force to make this happen.

Our park ranger has to go home at night with incredible job satisfaction. I could not help but think that sharing this story with Americans, especially young people, was sacred, sacred work. He made every child on our tour think about the leadership various people exhibited in 1957. He talked about the young white men at the high school who chose not to be violent, the white students who chose to reach out in welcome to the black students, and the brave African-American nine who took on this challenge. It was soooo moving to hear him make every single person on our tour, young and old alike, feel the leadership they themselves could show when faced with such a challenge. Sacred work!

If I was black, I would be so fed up with America's slow pace of change. This school actually wasn't fully integrated until 1972, but it's probably the same at other schools across the land. Imagine, if you were one of the Little Rock Nine and had undergone all of this hardship just to go to a good school and white school boards kept finding a way to keep the decision from being completely implemented.  How black people must ache!

Martin Luther King said, "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice." If you were a black mom or dad wouldn't you want justice now? Long justice isn't good enough. Everyone wants the best for their child. The slow arc of justice is just not satisfying if it your child.

Reflecting on my own experience

In the month since we were there, I've reflected a lot on my own family and whether or not we have done our share of work to form a more perfect union. I am proud to say that my girls went to an inner-city high school. While my daughters were in a gifted program with less diversity than the overall high school, it was still housed within this inner-city school where the African-American male graduation rate stood at 17%. Don't think I didn't want the best for my kids too, the graduates of the gifted program scored in the top 1% of the nation on the ACT.

 I'm especially proud of the role my youngest daughter took at her high school. The freshman orientation had been cancelled for some reason her first year there so she went in on the first day of school cold. She felt students in the years to follow would do better armed with more information on their first day.

The summer before her senior year she made hundreds of phone calls to her fellow seniors asking them to voluntarily staff a freshman orientation for the students. Dozens of seniors came in and the freshman loved being able to tour the school and see where the classes would be held. The new class learned the school songs, met the administration, and did all of those standard orientation activities.

 Daughter #2 didn't stop there. She created an 8-page color magazine to be given to each freshman with tips on how to be successful at the school quoting those who had made it to the senior level. She raised the thousands of dollars for that magazine herself too.

"The equal dignity of all persons is...a vital part of our constitutional legacy, even if the culture of the framers held them back from fully perceiving that universal ideal." ~ Justice Ruth Bader Gingsburg, 2000

As a citizen, I want our nation to form that more perfect union. I don't want to live in a country where people just tolerate each other. I want our nation to enjoy each other. I believe it is the work of the white people of my generation and my children's generation to make up for those past wrongs and reach out in kindness.

My kids are out of school now, but I can still make a difference by breaking bread with those different than me. I can still make a difference by reading and viewing someone else's stories and putting myself in their shoes. I can still make a difference by having conversations with people who are different than me on this topic. As Congressman John Lewis said back then when he was a young Freedom Rider, "if not us, then who? If not now, then when?"

You might also be interested in:

The Springfield Race Riots of 1908

Why the Obama Presidential Library should be built in
Springfield, Illinois

Touring the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas

Geocaching in Little Rock, Arkansas

Listening to Dissidents

and this from Turkey as I watched the Turkish protests:

Polarization is a Choice

Monday, June 9, 2008

America's Favorite Architecture

What is your favorite American building of all time? What architecture lifts your spirit and takes you to a new place? Is there some perfect expression of a church? Or a ball park? Or an airport terminal? What inspires awe in you?

Now there is the fun way to share your rabid opinions on the subject and help others find what you consider beloved. Vote for your “favorite five” of American architecture here. The American Institute of Architects polled their members and developed a list of all-time professional’s favorites. The projects that received six votes by members went on for further refinement to create an even more select list of America’s 150 favorite buildings.

It’s our turn to vote. It is a very hard choice. It’s like asking who among the many personalities that you know would you invite to a cocktail party. Why not everyone? Must I have a favorite? The beauty is in the mix.

Lists like this help us know what to go see. I thought I would have visited more of them than I have. I have been inside 64 of them. Here’s my top five:

1) Milwaukee Museum of Art designed by Santiago Calatrava – I have felt myself in the presence of genius expressed at this current moment twice in my life. Once was at the debut of Wynton Marsalis’ "Blood on the Fields" jazz opera, the other was when I entered this building. It is a masterpiece. Milwaukee residents should be proud to have commissioned the first example of Calatrava’s architecture in North America. If you go see it, don’t forget to watch the movie about the construction of the building. Like the construction movie for the Gateway Arch, it’s awe-inspiring!

2) Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel – this building looks exactly like what it is. A church for pilots. The seventeen spires are said to resemble a squadron of fighter jets shooting into the air. I took my children to hear the cadets sing Handel’s Messiah one Christmas in this exquisite building.

3) Lincoln Memorial – looking up at that big guy in the Lincoln Memorial…well… I can’t put it all into words. Probably because it gives me a lump in my throat. I guess it just makes me proud to be American. And great architecture inspires and becomes a backdrop for even more greatness… Marian Anderson singing there because she had been blackballed for being black and Martin Luther King declaring “I Have a Dream."

4) Jefferson Memorial – I don't know if someone from another country would be as moved by this one. Are they? The ideas are universal. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This memorial causes me to go silent. It brings out awe and wonder.

5) Golden Gate Bridge – Drop-dead, twelve-car-pile-up gorgeous. It’s so gorgeous, I think we know the bridge better than we know the bay. What was the visual shorthand for California before Hollywood and the Golden Gate?

It was hard to leave out the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial for creating a unifying monument out of a polarizing event, the United Terminal at O’Hare International Airport for communicating the romance of air travel, the Denver International Airport for the playful public art plus sheer speed and functionality (I can go from the park-and-go to the gate in 21 minutes), and Wrigley Field, which is just as mystical a place as everyone says it is.

I noticed so many of these projects were developed by architects who have been chosen as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects by their peers. Out of 80,000 practicing architects, only about 80 are selected to use the designation ‘FAIA’ after their name each year.

I went to see a friend be inducted as a Fellow. The ceremony was held in the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. While waiting for his name to be called I started to calculate the percentage of ‘fellows’ who had beards. 12%! Surely, that’s a higher percentage of beards than in the regular population. I think it helps an architect’s project list to be older and bearded. Pity the ladies then. Architects have it pretty good. How many professions are there where you get to do your best work after sixty?

One suggestion I have to improve the site is to make the list sortable by state so it’s easy to know what there is to see where you are. After voting, you can see how many votes your favorites received vs. everyone else favorites. What did you pick?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood..."

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die."

~Daniel Burnham, American architect and urban planner

Contemplating moving to a new place makes me want to enjoy the present moment in my current place even more. I've just discovered a cool website that helps culture mavens find wonderful places to visit in Illinois. There are interesting things to see EVERYWHERE in the world.

The website is called illinoisgreatplaces. It was created by the Illinois Chapter of the American Association of Architects to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their existence. I was pleased to see that I had visited every great place in my community but there is tons of stuff I haven't visited within a very short driving distance.

For example, there is an Egyptian Theatre in Dekalb, Illinois. Who could resist Egyptian Deco? Apparently, it was a big trend in architecture during the 1920s after King Tut's tomb was discovered.

I wonder if the desire to build great buildings can be caught. What makes a boom of architecturally-interesting facilities get started and continue in a city? I understand that the wealth of a period is instrumental, but wealth can be spent many different ways. Is the desire to create architectural significance viral, like obesity has been found to be?

What makes a committee of people working on a public building move forward together with boldness in one location and not in another? Do friends egg each other on? Are current builders having a conversation with past builders much the way Alan Ginsberg and Langston Hughes were conversing with Walt Whitman through poetry? If I was in the AIA, that's what I would want researched because the first thing greatness needs is THE WILL.

Chicago is an AMAZING architecture town. Everyone there is a fan and a critic. It's impossible not to be because greatness is everywhere. The AIA Foundation has outstanding tours everyday showing off Chicago's treasures. This picture is of Marina Towers, familiar to everyone who has seen the Blues Brothers movie. Chicago is blessed with a visionary mayor right now, Richard Daley, who is ALL WILL.

So much of architecture expresses a very masculine personality. Not that there is anything wrong with that. This is the Sears Tower, Chicago's tallest building. As more and more women become architects, will we some day be able to look at a building and instantly know "a woman designed that!" I hope so. It would be cool for my daughters and granddaughters to say "wow, that building is so feminine."

The illinoisgreatplaces website isn't perfect. It shows that there are only two significant theatres on the front page but actually six were chosen. The list of 150 places must be a fantastic upselling tool for architects. Imagine sharing this list with a customer and saying, "why build good when you can build great? Only six of your kind of building has made this list. Shall we try for greatness? Would spending 25-50% more result in 100% greater return to your community because of the traffic generated?"

There should be some sort of "amazing architecture" tax credit because the return to the community continues long past a developer's ability to recoup the cost. After all, what defines the thousands of communities across the world but their buildings?

Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre in Rockford

Whoever heard of Bilbao, Spain until Frank Gehry designed the Guggenheim Museum there? What picture instantly comes into everyone's mind at the mention of Sydney, Australia? The opera house. There are something like 14 or 15 cities in China with populations over 1 million yet no one has heard of them because they haven't yet expressed their collective personality through building. Hey Chinese cities, the world is looking forward to your self-introduction.

I was asking a friend active in the architecture association if there was a '150 web site' for every state. He said the Illinois chapter led the nation in doing this, but it was such a great idea that the national association has created a list of the most architecturally-interesting places in America. Fantastic!
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