Architecture By Sea

Tales from other places, part deux

Well fuck you too, Mies van der Rohe!
Well fuck you too, Mies van der Rohe!

One of the great things about being in a big city is the abundance of lovely, large-scale architecture. It really adds impact to getting out of town. Chicago, America's third largest city, is naturally endowed with some of the world's most interesting buildings. This past week I had the opportunity of reveling in architecture from a historically narrated cruise. (If you ever visit, at least do this one touristy thing.)

The Second City is certainly not lacking in beautiful buildings per se, but it is overwhelmed with the modern monolithic boxes that were so popular in the '60s, '70s and '80s--think Sears Tower. To me, lauded modern pioneer Mies van der Rohe built nothing other than insults here. The modernist intent--no frills, no decoration, just pure utilitarian buildings--is as bleak as it is boring. Now, in the '90s and '00s the buildings do have more color and flare, but compared to '20s beauties like the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and Jewelers Building, the contemporary crop is unamazing at best. It would be nice if architects just got over the glass curtain already.

In other news, I whole-heartedly wish Albuquerque would get some more tall buildings. Is anyone else tired of seeing the Hyatt and ugly Wells Fargo on the skyline?