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Chicagophile


LETTERS
Colorful architectural criticism


Although a Chicago native and resident, I had not been in Hyde Park or around the University campus for some time, with the exception of quick trips to the Seminary Cooperative Bookstore. Several days prior to this writing, I decided that I needed a change of scenery and so drove south on the newly reconfigured Lake Shore Drive. Upon arrival on campus, I noted that nothing had changed parking-wise and so I drove around hoping that all the Hyde Park parkers had not seen two parking places together and thought to themselves, "I'll take both."

I knew from U of C publications ("College Report," October/01) that at least one new dormitory was under construction, but I was entirely unprepared for what presented. All of a sudden I saw what can only be rationally conceived as the U of C's challenge to the University of Illinois at Chicago's heretofore undisputed reign in holding Chicagoland's "campus architectural nightmare" laurels.

There behind Regenstein Library sat the most unsightly, disagreeable, distasteful, repellent, repugnant, repulsive, and ill-conceived edifice I could never have imagined in an otherwise beautiful (mostly) gothic campus-an elongated pumpkin, orange stretching from University to Ellis Avenues, which no fairy godmother might transfigure into an elegant coach short of demolition and replacement-a building whose architectural decorum ranks with Chicago's Thompson Center and Frank Gehry's proposed pile of heating and air-conditioning waste soon to rise as Millennial Park's new band shell.

To all connected with the pumpkin's conception, planning, approval, and erection, I would contribute to their neurological testing and recovery, as well as nominate them corporately for the 2001 "Mein Gott in Himmel, What Were You Thinking?" award. For the first time in the 35 years of its existence, the University of Illinois at Chicago (of which I am also an alumnus and adjacent to which I live) looks courtly and aristocratic by comparison.

John David Sturman, AM'79, DMN'85
Chicago


 

 


  DECEMBER 2001

  > > Volume 94, Number 2


  FEATURES
  > >
Wealth of notions
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The remains of the day
  > >
A new Chicago seven
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Beyond the bomb
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The life and tomes


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