My Kind of Town

Monday, August 06, 2007

I just returned from a very nice weekend with my wife in Chicago. While there, I realized that this might be my last visit for awhile, so I made sure to take some pictures yesterday. Here are a few, taken from a high-rise near the lakefront. Click an image for more detail.

The only thing better than an impressive skyline is one that is becoming even more impressive! I could see four structures under construction from the high-rise I where took these shots and foundation work for a fifth!

Now that I'm back in town after a period of very little Internet access, I'll have the usual drill of catching up with events, blogs, and email....

-- CAV


: Minor edits.


Bruno said...

From pictures I've seen, Chicago is starting to become my favorite american city (my current number one being New York). I even have some work connection with Chicago (agricultural market analysis, Chicago Board of Trade being the main trade board for soybeans). So, I really expect to visit it someday.

Thanks for displaying these great photos!

Gus Van Horn said...

You're more than welcome!

I have visited Chicago to see my in-laws (who will be moving come December) several times and have found it very pleasant every time. There is no shortage of really neat things to do.

I highly recommend visiting it as soon as you can.

Anonymous said...

What will be the tallest building in America is currently one of those under construction:

Gus Van Horn said...

That is correct, sir!

I THINK I could see its construction site, but during the interval between when I took the shots and when I was talking to people who would know, I forgot about that question....

And while we're on that subject, be sure to read GB's excellent post on da Spire.

Joe said...

Great pictures. I hope to visit Chicago one day.

A brief comment about Calatrava and “Da Spire”: while the building is dramatic looking, and (lets assume for the purpose of this argument) beautiful, its very bad architecture. The same goes for his other works such as the Milwaukee art Museum or the Lyon airport TGV station.

While looking good and projecting a particular mood (e.g. looking dramatic) are essential requirements for design, they are not the only requirements. A building should also be structurally efficient, and it should be a great place for humans to be in. The mark of a great architect is that he can achieve these two objectives while still maintaining good looks. In fact, it can be argued that beauty and “looks” are a result of achieving these structural and human-use requirements.

Calatrava is a rationalist: his buildings have a central theme, yet it s a theme pulled out of a hat (looking like a bird or some other organic object), and imposes needless tradeoffs against other essential requirements (i.e. needless cost, needless discomfort and inconvenience for the users)

--Joe (Forces blog)

Gus Van Horn said...

For the curious, here is a picture of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

And as for da Spire, its design has changed several times.

You have a point, unlike da Spire -- at least the last time I checked!

Ergo said...

I *love* Chicago. It is my city and I consider it my home. I have so many memories of it. I used to live there in the South Loop area, with the beautiful skyline visible from my balcony. I used to work at the NBC Tower on Michigan Ave.

I miss Chicago so dearly now.

Gus Van Horn said...

I feel the same way about Houston and it is quite possible I'll have to leave it next year due to my wife's career.

If I do, I'll really miss it.

Martin Lindeskog said...

I have visited Chicago twice. Once at an ARI event. In the summer of 2002 I went together with a childhood friend, visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio. According to this quiz, the following cities should be a good match:

Washington DC
New York City

Do you think the mob is ruling Chicago?

Gus Van Horn said...


In a word (a poem, actually), yes!

I wrote that when I heard they were getting ready to ban fois gras!

Inspector said...

Those are some good pictures; I'm glad you enjoyed visiting it.

I used to admire that city. But if you try living there, like Kriegsgefahrzustand has, you start to see that it's the hollow oak tree that is the TT building.

It was a city built on a stagnant swamp, and it has, unfortunately, become very in touch with its origins. A stagnant, socialist, swamp sustained only by a set of byzantine laws and taxes that ensnare people and their wealth.

Er... sorry to rain on your parade there. Um... the food is really, really good.

Gus Van Horn said...

Sure, but what you said of Chicago's cultural and political climate is true of nearly every big city in America today-- even, increasingly, Houston (which shares the distinction of having been built on a swamp.) And yes, in Chicago, the more advanced stage of this rot is manifest as part of its higher cost of living.

It is not evasion to focus on the positive from time to time, though. It's a psychological necessity.

Inspector said...

You're not kidding about that "every big city in America" thing. I suspect that if it weren't for some very clever and convoluted laws, most people would have fled the inner cities by now.

But yes, yes. The positive. Indeed, focusing on it is practically a survival skill these days. I opined a bit on the subject recently:

"If you’re willing – and I’m not saying you have to be – you can pick out some laudable themes from among our culture’s many gross (and I mean that both ways) errors. For instance, it is questionable if it would be in keeping with the artist’s original intent to interpret Zepp’s Whole Lotta Love as being between a couple with a deep romantic relationship, but then it is also definitely not in keeping with Beethoven’s original intent for the Ode To Joy to speak of non-religious exaltation. But I certainly have no reservations about the latter, and I don’t see how the former differs from it terribly. It’s just part and parcel to being able to glean values (any values) from the kind of society we live in."

Did you get yourself some pizza while you were up there?


Gus Van Horn said...

Not on this trip. Come to think of it, not on any trip, although I've had Chicago hot dogs up there before.

Thanks for the accidental suggestion. I think we might be up there once more and if we are, we will!

Inspector said...

Oh, the 'dogs are wonderful, too. Have you been to Portillo's? They have so many good foods there. Hot Dogs, Italian Beef, excellent ribs, really really good Chicken Parmesan... I could go on.

For pizza, there are actually two kinds of Chicago style: deep dish and thin crust. I suggest one of each. For deep, you simply must go to Lou Malnati's and get the sausage. For thin, I'm mostly familiar with the places in the 'burbs, but I'm sure you won't go wrong with any number of places.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for the recommendations!