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Terror and Wonder - A Photo Gallery

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September 17, 2001<br><strong>The ruins of the World Trade Center</strong> <br>In truth, almost no one loved the twin towers as they loved the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, the great Art Deco skyscrapers that exemplify New York's special brand of arrogance and exuberance. But the towers were undeniably landmarks in the most basic sense of that overused but under-considered word They marked the land. Those shiny square boxes with the slice of sky in between them ultimately worked as massive minimalist sculptures neither beautiful nor stirring, but fixed points on the map that were impossible to ignore. By sheer virtue of their enormous size and scale, they lent coherence to the chaos of modern life. So it seems all the more jarring that they should succumb to that very chaos. <br><i>U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographers Mate Eric J. Tilford</i>September 14, 2005<br><b>The Bywater district of New Orleans </b><br>The horizontal tableau of entire neighborhoods swamped beneath stinking, sewage-infested waters is as stunning as the vertical drama of the collapsing twin towers in New York. But the relentless focus of the media eye on New Orleans sunken areas and the unprecedented dispersal of its residents obscure the bigger picture: The real issue is not whether to rebuild the Big Easy, but how. Cities are collective works of art, and New Orleans is one of America's masterpieces -- a delectable multicultural gumbo whose value is only more pronounced in a nation where the same stores, banks and malls make every place feel like every other place. For that reason alone, the much-hyped should we rebuild New Orleans? debate is preposterous. Of course we should save New Orleans. To abandon it would be like Italy abandoning Venice. <br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by Chris Walker<br></i> 

September 17, 2001
The ruins of the World Trade Center

In truth, almost no one loved the twin towers as they loved the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, the great Art Deco skyscrapers that exemplify New York's special brand of arrogance and exuberance. But the towers were undeniably landmarks in the most basic sense of that overused but under-considered word They marked the land. Those shiny square boxes with the slice of sky in between them ultimately worked as massive minimalist sculptures neither beautiful nor stirring, but fixed points on the map that were impossible to ignore. By sheer virtue of their enormous size and scale, they lent coherence to the chaos of modern life. So it seems all the more jarring that they should succumb to that very chaos.
- U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Eric J. Tilford

September 14, 2005
The Bywater district of New Orleans
The horizontal tableau of entire neighborhoods swamped beneath stinking, sewage-infested waters is as stunning as the vertical drama of the collapsing twin towers in New York. But the relentless focus of the media eye on New Orleans’ sunken areas and the unprecedented dispersal of its residents obscure the bigger picture: The real issue is not whether to rebuild the Big Easy, but how. Cities are collective works of art, and New Orleans is one of America's masterpieces -- a delectable multicultural gumbo whose value is only more pronounced in a nation where the same stores, banks and malls make every place feel like every other place. For that reason alone, the much-hyped “should we rebuild New Orleans?” debate is preposterous. Of course we should save New Orleans. To abandon it would be like Italy abandoning Venice.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Chris Walker

August 29, 2004<br><b>The Crown Fountain in Chicagos Millennium Park</b><br>Of all the scenes that have played out since Millennium Park opened six weeks ago, this is the one that says the most: Children race around the black granite reflecting pool of the Crown Fountain, waiting for the giant human faces projected onto twin glass-block towers to spit jets of water. And they scream with delight when they get the shower.  That this inventive, multimedia spectacle takes place just a few blocks from stately old Buckingham Fountain offers a telling contrast. At Buckingham Fountain, all you can do is stand by and watch water shooting out of sea creatures' mouths. But at the Crown Fountain, the atmosphere is raucous, festive and, above all, interactive. It's the difference between architecture as object and architecture as event -- and it is among the reasons that Millennium Park has instantly established itself as a triumphant, if still-imperfect, public space.<br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi</i>
September 10, 2006<br><b>The Treasury Department Building in Washington, D.C.</b><br>They are ruining Washington, ruining it in the name of saving it. Five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, this once-lovely city of broad diagonal avenues and open vistas is becoming an ever more-militarized zone that illustrates the profound tensions convulsing government buildings throughout the nation. Disturbing long-established patterns of everyday life in cities big and small, that tension is between security and openness, the imperative to fortify and the desire to beautify. And in this struggle between armor and aesthetics, armor is invariably emerging the victor, marring public buildings and public spaces that symbolize the ideals of democracy and help hold together a diverse, often-fractious society.<br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by E. Jason Wambsgans</i>
 
August 29, 2004
The Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park
Of all the scenes that have played out since Millennium Park opened six weeks ago, this is the one that says the most: Children race around the black granite reflecting pool of the Crown Fountain, waiting for the giant human faces projected onto twin glass-block towers to spit jets of water. And they scream with delight when they get the shower. That this inventive, multimedia spectacle takes place just a few blocks from stately old Buckingham Fountain offers a telling contrast. At Buckingham Fountain, all you can do is stand by and watch water shooting out of sea creatures' mouths. But at the Crown Fountain, the atmosphere is raucous, festive and, above all, interactive. It's the difference between architecture as object and architecture as event -- and it is among the reasons that Millennium Park has instantly established itself as a triumphant, if still-imperfect, public space.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi
September 10, 2006
The Treasury Department Building in Washington, D.C.
They are ruining Washington, ruining it in the name of saving it. Five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, this once-lovely city of broad diagonal avenues and open vistas is becoming an ever more-militarized zone that illustrates the profound tensions convulsing government buildings throughout the nation. Disturbing long-established patterns of everyday life in cities big and small, that tension is between security and openness, the imperative to fortify and the desire to beautify. And in this struggle between armor and aesthetics, armor is invariably emerging the victor, marring public buildings and public spaces that symbolize the ideals of democracy and help hold together a diverse, often-fractious society.
- Chicago Tribune photo by E. Jason Wambsgans

September 8, 2009<br><b>The Aqua tower in Chicago</b><br>Aqua, the spectacular new Chicago skyscraper with the sensuous, undulating balconies, is the pearl of the long-running, now-ending Chicago building boom, a design that is as fresh conceptually as it is visually. A skyscraper typically consists of repetitive, right-angled parts, a money-saving device that frequently produces aesthetic monotony. But in this defiantly non-Euclidian high-rise, almost nothing seems to repeat. Its white, wafer-thin balconies bulge outward, each slightly different from the other. They race around corners and shoot upward in fantastic, voluptuous stacks. This is a new vision of verticality, and it makes Aqua one of Chicago's boldest -- and best -- skyscrapers in years.<br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha</i> 
January 27, 2008<br><b>The Avenue East high-rise in Chicago</b><br>On North Michigan Avenue, shoe-horned behind the marvelous mountainous mass of the InterContinental Chicago hotel, there's Avenue East, an orange-and-white hulk done in the colors of a Creamsicle. Just north of McCormick Place stands Museum Park Place, a stubby slab that addressed South Lake Shore Drive with a superscale tic-tac-toe grid in screeching red. This rogues gallery of condominium and apartment towers reveals a trend that Chicago's boosters will find hard to swallow: For every authentic gem produced by the long-running building boom, there are more gewgaws -- structures that offend not only because they're poorly designed but also because they erode the city's extraordinary sense of place. The bigger story in all this reaches beyond Chicago to boomtowns across America and the world: This is a time of urbanization without urbanity; of star architects who are their own brands, not the standard-bearers of larger movements; of idiosyncratic, do-your-own-thing "icon buildings," not broadly accepted norms that generate satisfying cityscapes.<br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez</i> 
September 8, 2009
The Aqua tower in Chicago
The spectacular new Chicago skyscraper with the sensuous, undulating balconies, is the pearl of the long-running, now-ending Chicago building boom, a design that is as fresh conceptually as it is visually. A skyscraper typically consists of repetitive, right-angled parts, a money-saving device that frequently produces aesthetic monotony. But in this defiantly non-Euclidian high-rise, almost nothing seems to repeat. Its white, wafer-thin balconies bulge outward, each slightly different from the other. They race around corners and shoot upward in fantastic, voluptuous stacks. This is a new vision of verticality, and it makes Aqua one of Chicago's boldest -- and best -- skyscrapers in years.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha
January 27, 2008
The Avenue East high-rise in Chicago
On North Michigan Avenue, shoe-horned behind the marvelous mountainous mass of the InterContinental Chicago hotel, there's Avenue East, an orange-and-white hulk done in the colors of a Creamsicle. Just north of McCormick Place stands Museum Park Place, a stubby slab that addressed South Lake Shore Drive with a superscale tic-tac-toe grid in screeching red. This rogues’ gallery of condominium and apartment towers reveals a trend that Chicago's boosters will find hard to swallow: For every authentic gem produced by the long-running building boom, there are more gewgaws -- structures that offend not only because they're poorly designed but also because they erode the city's extraordinary sense of place. The bigger story in all this reaches beyond Chicago to boomtowns across America and the world: This is a time of urbanization without urbanity; of star architects who are their own brands, not the standard-bearers of larger movements; of idiosyncratic, do-your-own-thing "icon buildings," not broadly accepted norms that generate satisfying cityscapes.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez

October 8, 2006<br><b>The Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum</b><br>With his elfin stature, towering intellect and aggressive designer eyewear, architect and ground zero planner Daniel Libeskind has been a media fixture for so long that it's hard to believe his shimmering, sharp-edged addition to the Denver Art Museum is his first American building. The new $110 million project reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of Libeskinds madly exuberant neo-expressionist style, with its knifing prows and peaks, tilting cubes and ski-slope roofs that seem perfect for the Rockies. It is a startling, sometimes over-the-top piece of architectural sculpture, a surprisingly sensitive shaper of urban spaces and a disappointingly spotty art museum in which basic functional problems have not been adequately solved. Perhaps the addition represents a cautionary tale for the era of globe-trotting star architects, a warning against irrational exuberance, in which the knock-your-eyes-out container overwhelms the art it contains.<br><i>Denver Art Museum photo by Jeff Wells</i>
October 8, 2006
The Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum
With his elfin stature, towering intellect and aggressive designer eyewear, architect and ground zero planner Daniel Libeskind has been a media fixture for so long that it's hard to believe his shimmering, sharp-edged addition to the Denver Art Museum is his first American building. The new $110 million project reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of Libeskind’s madly exuberant neo-expressionist style, with its knifing prows and peaks, tilting cubes and ski-slope roofs that seem perfect for the Rockies. It is a startling, sometimes over-the-top piece of architectural sculpture, a surprisingly sensitive shaper of urban spaces and a disappointingly spotty art museum in which basic functional problems have not been adequately solved. Perhaps the addition represents a cautionary tale for the era of globe-trotting star architects, a warning against irrational exuberance, in which the knock-your-eyes-out container overwhelms the art it contains.
- Denver Art Museum photo by Jeff Wells
October 2007
The green roof at Chicago’s City Hall
The green movement’s strengths are personified by Mayor Richard M. Daley, the tree-hugging, democratically-elected monarch who was born on Arbor Day and who has remade—or, more accurately, has re-layered—the city’s façade since he took office in 1989. If a latter-day Rip van Winkle had fallen into a deep slumber in that year and awoken today, he would notice as astonishing change in the city’s once-harsh landscape 500,000 trees planted, more than 80 miles of landscaped medians constructed, and 2 million square feet of green roofs built or negotiated—more than all other American cities combined. I once got a rise out of Daley by calling his penchant for trees, shrubs and flowers “the Martha-Stewartizing of this tough-guy town.” But the more I see of his greening push, the more I think it’s beyond just literal greening; it’s conceptual greening that civilizes the urban jungle, encouraging high-density living and, thus saving energy.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Chris Walker

May 7, 2009 <br><b>The Test Cell building at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago</b><br>You'd never suspect that a great architect shaped the clunky brick box at the corner of 35th and Federal Streets. But the master of the steel-and-glass box, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, designed this humble brick hut at the southwest edge of the Illinois Institute of Technology. It was called "the Test Cell" or "the Gunnery," names that hinted at the building's covert purpose. Built during the Cold War in the early 1950s, it reportedly led to an underground testing facility for explosives. Get a good look at this building now. It will soon be demolished to make way for an $11.7 million Metra commuter rail station, backed with $6.8 million in federal stimulus funds, that will bring riders to U.S. Cellular Field, the Bronzeville neighborhood and IIT's resurgent campus. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. Mediocre buildings by world-class architects sometimes have to make way for pieces of civic infrastructure that uplift the community as a whole.<br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by Zbigniew Bzdak</i>
 
October 2010<br><b>The Division Street Station on the Chicago Transit Authoritys Blue Line</b><br>We began this book with ruins, and we end with ruins. The first set of ruins, at the World Trade Center, could be blamed on terrorist fanatics. The second set of ruins, evident in Americas vast array of crumbling bridges, rail lines, and levees, was a failure of our own makingthe result not of violence but of negligence. Private splendor and public squalor were two sides of the same coin, starkly reflecting which values had currency in post-millennium America and which did not. Our architecture, the great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan once said, reflects us, as truly as a mirror. Never has that observation been more true than in the tumultuous age of terror and wonder.<br><i>Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez</i>
May 7, 2009
The “Test Cell” building at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago
You'd never suspect that a great architect shaped the clunky brick box at the corner of 35th and Federal Streets. But the master of the steel-and-glass box, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, designed this humble brick hut at the southwest edge of the Illinois Institute of Technology. It was called "the Test Cell" or "the Gunnery," names that hinted at the building's covert purpose. Built during the Cold War in the early 1950s, it reportedly led to an underground testing facility for explosives. Get a good look at this building now. It will soon be demolished to make way for an $11.7 million Metra commuter rail station, backed with $6.8 million in federal stimulus funds, that will bring riders to U.S. Cellular Field, the Bronzeville neighborhood and IIT's resurgent campus. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. Mediocre buildings by world-class architects sometimes have to make way for pieces of civic infrastructure that uplift the community as a whole.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Zbigniew Bzdak
October 2010
The Division Street Station on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line
We began this book with ruins, and we end with ruins. The first set of ruins, at the World Trade Center, could be blamed on terrorist fanatics. The second set of ruins, evident in America’s vast array of crumbling bridges, rail lines, and levees, was a failure of our own making—the result not of violence but of negligence. Private splendor and public squalor were two sides of the same coin, starkly reflecting which values had currency in post-millennium America and which did not. “Our architecture,” the great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan once said, “reflects us, as truly as a mirror.” Never has that observation been more true than in the tumultuous age of terror and wonder.
- Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez

 
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