Friday, March 10, 2017

View of a Skyline: Dateline Chicago

It was an interesting view of Chicago's skyline from the southwest jury room vantage point. The Sears, now Willis, though no one calls it that, tower rises up in the foreground. For many years it held the distinction of being the world's tallest building. Then, in Malaysia, another building was constructed. An ornamental spire placed atop it gave it the world's tallest building title. We took solace in the Sears tower having the highest inhabitable floor and if you took the t.v. antennas on it's roof into account it was still the tallest. Chicago is proud, we do not give up easily. Witness the Cubs. It took over 100 years of their fans sticking by them before they were awarded with a World Series win in extra innings in the final game. Apparently we are also fond of suspense.

Tallest building or not Chicago's architecture is impressive. The bright red CNA building, the crosshatched facade of the John Hancock tower and more recently the undulating balconies of the Wave, notable not only for it unique silhouette but also because it was designed by a woman. One often finds here the steeples of a turn of the 20th century church rising above a low lying surrounding neighborhood. Late 19th century and jazz age office buildings line the narrow streets of the financial district. Many of their lobbies retain the ornate trappings of a time, prior to a stripped down, form follows function aesthetic, when a designers eye was allowed to imagine and create extravagant spaces of exceptional design and detail.

After 30 years of familiarity Chicago still retains the ability to surprise me. As with an old friend about which you discover something new, something previously unknown, it makes me love it even more deeply than I already do.