18 October 2012

Visions of Our Past and Future

A Vision to Avoid Demolition for a ’70s Pioneer

[Via the New York Times]

CHICAGO — A familiar sort of preservation battle has been stewing for months here over the fate of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital, a concrete, cloverleaf structure from 1975 by Bertrand Goldberg, the Chicago architect. It’s a groundbreaking, wonderful oddball among the architectural monuments in this city. High-profile designers like Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have signed petitions entreating Northwestern University, which owns the building, not to tear it down, arguing for landmark status and pleading for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step in.

The university says it needs new biomedical research facilities and that Prentice is too small, old and quirky to feasibly retrofit. A new building, the university argues, would bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives.

No surprise, Northwestern has been winning the debate. On Monday Brendan Reilly, an alderman representing the Chicago ward that includes Prentice, announced that he was leaning toward demolition. “I remain open to suggestions,” he added, according to The Chicago Tribune. “And believe me, if there’s a eureka moment, I’m all ears.”

So here is a suggestion: Build a research tower on top of Prentice.


Taubman says Art Museum won’t Fail

[Via the Roanoke Times]

ROANOKE — The [Randall Stout Designed] Taubman Museum of Art’s biggest financial supporter said he and the museum’s new board of directors won’t let the struggling museum fail.

“We’re not going to let the place go broke,” said Nick Taubman, who on Monday took command as board chairman of the institution that bears his family’s name.

To that effect, the former Advance Auto Parts president and CEO and the new board, which includes Medical Facilities of America Chairman Heywood Fralin and other business leaders, have infused the cash-strapped museum with about $1.5million to help it cover operating costs for the rest of the year.

And Taubman said Tuesday that the arrangement will continue as long as it needs to. The museum’s annual budget is about $3.4million.

Monday also brought the news that Taubman President and CEO David Mickenberg had stepped down, leaving people in the arts community wondering how the museum will change. Hired in September 2009, when the museum had already resorted to layoffs after being open less than a year, he pushed for the museum to reinvent itself as a regional art center rather than an international tourist draw.

Posted by MC in Art After Postmodernism.

One comment:

  1. MC:

    These stories will be familiar to anyone who pays any real attention to the EAG to AGA transformation in Edmonton, as we watch events unfold, we can see where this is heading…

    A rare, Brutalist landmark building is chucked on the scrap-heap… make way for a FLASHY, ICONIC building that a city cannot afford to run properly.

    Next up on the chopping block here at home: Edmonton’s historic Royal Alberta Museum. It needs renovation, and expansion, but political forces behind the scenes have conspired to evict them from their perfect river valley location (you can almost hear the salivating over that plum real estate!) and shoehorn a new RAM building across from the Law Courts downtown.

    Sure, they have to demolish the post office building there first ($$$), and then spend even more money to build a new museum from scratch, but money’s no object when the our “Conservative” governments are footing the bill, right?

    Is it true that the old RAM site will be used to build another official residence for an unelected political appointee? Or will portions be carved off and sold to developers? As usual, citizens have no say in any of this. Edmontonians are too busy with REAL negotiations… with Daryl Katz. Oh yeah, that’s right, that deal was no good, so Edmonton REFUSED to go along with it. Well, at least we’re smart when it comes to hockey.

    Paula Simons tries, and fails, to make a convincing case for why, exactly, “we NEED a new provincial museum” here: http://www.albertaviews.ab.ca/2012/02/27/stories-in-storage-2/

    Save her article for the springtime, when you can spread it in your garden to help your roses grow…

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