It's only been four years since Rahm Emanuel took over the top spot at City Hall, but the city's streetscape and skyline has been undergoing steady change ever since. There's been a number of exciting projects in the works in Chicago over the last several years, but one of the biggest highlights is expansion of parks and recreation spaces. The Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin recently sat down with the mayor to discuss the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Lucas Museum, the city's new park spaces and the mayor's favorite buildings.
The pair met at the new Chinatown Branch Library for a tour and to discuss these topics, and in describing the vision behind the new library, the mayor says that he believes public projects should be just as ambitious and memorable as downtown's soaring towers. "Chicago is the city that is known for its modern architecture," the mayor tells Kamin, "Public buildings and public endeavors should be iconic and interesting." The mayor believes that the new 606 trail and Chicago Riverwalk extension will become transformative fixtures for Chicago and its reputation among competing cities. When discussing the controversial Lucas Museum plan, the mayor indicated that the museum's surrounding green space will become yet another big win for the public. Another notable public project that the mayor is excited about is the $240 million 95th Street Terminal that will become a new transportation and job hub for the South Side.
But beyond the projects currently in the works, the mayor does have a few favorite buildings that have been a part of the city's skyline for many years. According to Kamin, one of the mayor's favorite buildings is the Postmodern 333 Wacker Drive built in 1983 by Kohn Pedersen Fox. In addition, the mayor also holds the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in high regard. Beyond its striking design from Frank Gehry, the mayor says that the way that the bandshell and pavilion fit in with its surrounding area creates an "iconic image of Chicago." And as far as neighborhoods are concerned, the mayor highlights Printer's Row for its industrial history and how the buildings have been preserved and reimagined to fit in with the needs of today's residents and businesses.
·Rahm Emanuel's favorite Chicago architecture [Tribune]
·Rahm on architecture and urban planning [Tribune]
·Previous 606 coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Chicago Riverwalk coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Lucas Museum coverage [Curbed Chicago]