We've heard what the city's architecture critics have had to say about Mayor Daley's legacy (here and here), now let's turn to a distinguished panel of local architects and let them weigh in. Sounds like a great idea, right? The Architect's Newspaper did just that, asking 11 Chicago architects to reflect on Daley's impact on "the city's architecture, planning, and landscape," and to talk about the challenges his successor will face. The result is a collection of highly diplomatic sound bites that makes for a pretty dull read, to put it mildly. Lynn Becker deems it "a vacuous pile of platitudes," adding: "it's so soft a marshmallow would be jealous." Amazingly, all 11 of the architects interviewed have favorable feelings about the polarizing mayor, even though all of them have been "pretty much frozen out of major projects sponsored by the City of Chicago and its agencies," as Becker puts it. OK, so they passed on the opportunity to take some jabs at the exiting mayor. What does the group hope to find in his successor?
Answers range from the boring fiscal pragmatism espoused by John Lahey from Solomon Cordwell Buenz:
"The real problem remains with the fiscal realities of today's urban America. That's what needs to be tackled."To the predictable "make no little plans" recitations, like this one from John Ronan:"Daley had a vision for grand projects, 'big thinking' in the Burnham sense of the term. Now the expectation is that the next mayor will have a vision for the city."To this downright depressing assessment from Jackie Koo:"Where does his successor even begin? It's just a terrible time, especially for people trying to find affordable housing."Let's hope these luminaries are just holding back and keeping their true visions for the city close to the vest, for some reason.
· Comment> Mayor Daley's Chicago Legacy [Architect's Newspaper]
· Architects' Post Mortem: Too Much Spun Sugar? [ArchitectureChicago PLUS]