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Arts & Entertainment

Chicago Architecture Critic Not Real Jazzed by Arts District

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Chicago Architecture Critic Not Real Jazzed by Arts District

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A hirsute FrontBurnervian passes along a link to a story by the Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin, who was in town recently. Kamin writes:

Is it a good idea to organize arts buildings in such a clear and concentrated fashion? Or does the more mixed-up Chicago way make better sense? I ask because, despite its impressive architectural firepower, the Dallas Arts District can be an exceedingly dull place. There are no bookstores, few restaurants outside those in the museums, and not a lot of street life, at least when there are no performances going on. Even some of the architects who’ve designed buildings here privately refer to the district as an architectural petting zoo — long on imported brand-name bling and short on homegrown-urban vitality.

I guess Kamin missed the restaurants at One Arts. But what he says about street life, sadly, is accurate. And while we’re on the subject, how’s that search for Nerenhausen’s permanent replacement coming? Eh?

Update (12:23 p.m.): Our Urban Affairs columnist, Patrick Kennedy, also took a look at Kamin’s story. Patrick is smarter than I am. He says:

[S]urely nobody wants to point out the elephant in the room regarding all of these predominantly privately funded monuments to themselves efforts towards revitalization like the Arts District buildings, Thanksgiving Square, etc. To improve these things as they exist within the urban context, to urbanize them, means to desecrate them in the eyes of the individual benefactors. We have to wait until they, ahem, move on, until we can fix them. I’ve got time. Harsh, I know, but cities live on a different timeline than do we. Future generations adapt what they’re given into something more useful to them. It is as true and inescapable as our own mortality.