Sunday Reader: What Caught My Eye This Week

Wall Street: where the spaces between architecture are brought to an extreme (photo 2012).

Several things have caught my attention this week in the broader architecture world. Wondering what’s going on out there? Don’t worry, I’ll condense down some of the good parts for you.

1. The Obama Library. The University of Chicago has been chosen as the site for Obama’s presidential library, though the exact location for the library has not been decided. The two options on the table are Jackson Park and Washington Park (there is a nice map in this article). Cutting into park land is of course not ideal. Particularly Olmsted-designed parkland! But I think that there is a good opportunity here to draw visitors both to the library and the park. On my recent visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, in Jackson Park, I was disappointed about how tricky it was to combine a museum and park visit. Museum parking is underground and it can only be assumed that most visitors don’t set foot into the historic Jackson Park at all: the enter the museum from the depths of the parking garage and exit the same way. Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin wrote a great essay in February about the need to proceed with caution when building in Olmsted parkland.

2. The Whitney Museum. There is a new Whitney Museum, just opened this week, and opinions abound. Odd amalgam of money, art, steel, and style? A description parlor game for New Yorkers? Overwrought shell around visitor friendly design? I would concede that a making museum spaces is tricky: the inside is far more important than the outside and it’s also more picky. I am surprised, however, that they did not take better advantage of their location next to the High Line. The website notes the great location of the High Line but the building, itself, does not seem to.

3. The “Up House,” a.k.a. the Edith Macefield House. The Edith Macefield House has found a broad following but its fate remains undecided. You can check out updates on the Facebook page that was created for the house. I am following this story closely and have very mixed feelings. I think it would make a very cute and popular coffee shop but am afraid no one wants to invest in such a project on this lot. I’ll let you know if anything unfolds!

4. The Royal Baby. Okay, not architecture, but how excited are you that we finally have a little princess in England? I’m very excited. The last to be born into the title “Princess of Cambridge” was Princess Mary Adelaide, who was born 182 years ago. It’s about time!

Have a nice Sunday!

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