Saturday, December 8, 2012

Under the Bean

The Missus and I took a bus trip to Chicago on Wednesday. Here's your's truly under the "Bean". I'm the guy on the left, right, top, and bottom. It was a beautiful day to be out and about. The premise was for the Missus to check out the Christkindlmarket. We did that - I had some hot mulled wine, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, and a little ginger bread. Pretty good deal for a vegan. A big hunk of bratwurst on the plate with the kraut and maybe a piece of pumpernickel would have made it a little tastier, even if not healthier. It was there for the asking along with a couple of other flavors of "wurst" but I resisted the temptation. Most of the rest of the day was spent at Macy's but I did a little side jaunt and made it to Millennium Park and hot lapped a few blocks close to Macy's so I could check out a few of the architectural gems like

The Sullivan Center. I can't imaging the work required to design, pattern, found, and install that chunk of cast iron. This has been around for more than a hundred years and still looks good. Every time I'm in the city and see some of these great old buildings, I'm just in awe. The new buildings make for an impressive skyline and looked great reflecting the setting sun as we were leaving but they just don't have the class that the old ones do. Many of the new buildings are great designs and technical marvels but as far as I'm concerned, they just don't measure up to the old masters. That's probably one of the reasons preservation of antiquities is so important. You need the comparison to keep innovating and to keep everyone honest. The Bean and the Jay Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park are great pieces but when that modernist look was applied to Soldier Field, not so good. From the outside it looks like an alien spaceship crash landed on top of it. Granted, Shop Teacher Bob is probably not the most qualified architecture critic but some pretty heavy hitters think the same thing.

If you back up a hundred years or even a little farther back, you find some amazing things that were built. The Crystal Palace, Eiffel Tower, Grand Central Terminal and later the S.S. Normandie. The whole Industrial Revolution thing brought some huge changes in transportation, manufacturing, architecture and design - first Art Nouveau, and later, Art Deco. Those boys had it going on.

Maybe this is why the later stuff doesn't do it for me. This banner was hanging from the side of the Cultural Center, itself a beautiful late 1800's building. There has to be more to this story than meets the eye but I didn't have the time to scope it out. I do know that Louis Sullivan wasn't ordinary, nor was John L., or for that matter, the Fighting Sullivans. Maybe it's just a Sullivan thing. Regardless, it was a great day to celebrate the start of the Christmas season by spending a little quality time with the Missus and doing a little shopping without the madness of Black Friday.

Weeknd's here again, so enjoy.


Shop Teacher Bob said...

Looks like an exray of a uterus. But it's cool.

Shop Teacher Bob said...

That comment came from "The Missus".